00:00:05 ◼ ► And I'm David Smith. Under the Radar is never longer than 30 minutes, so let's get started.
00:00:31 ◼ ► It just looks like a really big Apple Watch, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's good.
00:00:37 ◼ ► However, the fact that the Series 3 watch is still there, and that the SE is still there...
00:00:49 ◼ ► Is like a dagger in my heart as someone who wants to love Apple Watch development, who has spent the last...
00:00:55 ◼ ► Whatever it is, six years, seven years, really spending a lot of time doing it, working on it.
00:01:04 ◼ ► And like, totally took the wind out of a lot of the plans and things that I have around Apple Watch development.
00:01:25 ◼ ► Whatever it is, I'm always going to have this weird, it has to work on a screen that is like a tiny postage stamp,
00:01:38 ◼ ► Like, I even sat down, and just out of curiosity, I took a look at the different resolutions
00:02:01 ◼ ► Which if you multiply those together and get a sense of how many more pixels there are,
00:02:12 ◼ ► How can you have a design that works reasonably and well and fluidly between two things that are actually twice the size?
00:02:35 ◼ ► but I don't even know who I'm angry at necessarily. I just have this general sense of like, "Ugh!"
00:02:40 ◼ ► Because the Series 3, especially the 38mm Series 3, I'm just going on a rant, so just...
00:02:51 ◼ ► It's like, the thing about the Series 3, especially the 38mm Series 3, is it still sells really well.
00:03:09 ◼ ► I imagine it's the more giftable Apple Watch versus the several hundred dollar ones that are higher up,
00:03:27 ◼ ► And this is, the way I do my data here is that this is someone who has been wearing the Apple Watch in the last 24 hours.
00:03:36 ◼ ► So it isn't that they once had a watch and then they had a Series 3 and then they stopped wearing it.
00:04:01 ◼ ► And ignore if it's like the second most popular model is this really old, slow, tiny Apple Watch.
00:04:07 ◼ ► I also don't think you're able to exclude it from compatibility if you're making a watch app.
00:04:16 ◼ ► Right, yeah. You can't say, you know, you can't check a box in iTunes Connect or in Xcode somewhere that says,
00:04:26 ◼ ► Like, it's not, there's some, I mean, I imagine if you, I think it might be theoretically possible that you could say that your app required a compass.
00:04:42 ◼ ► Yeah, I mean, obviously, if I'm making a compass app, fair enough that it would exclude the Series 3.
00:04:46 ◼ ► But, yeah, it just was, it was just one of those things that I was really hopeful that this would,
00:04:51 ◼ ► the obvious thing that I think everyone expected to happen, or at least, I don't know, in my heart of hearts,
00:04:56 ◼ ► I thought that everyone was, thought was going to happen, is that this year, what was going to happen is the Series 3 was going to be discontinued,
00:05:15 ◼ ► The Series 3 is going to be there because the Series 3 is still on sale, still going to be here through the end of the year, at least.
00:05:20 ◼ ► Probably through next year, that means that the next version of watchOS is going to have to support it,
00:05:29 ◼ ► And so then it's going to be probably another two years that the Series 3 is going to be sort of this thing hanging around our neck.
00:05:37 ◼ ► And, like, for me, you know, I think the screen size accommodation is probably the hardest part of supporting this model.
00:05:46 ◼ ► But also, from a, like, processor and RAM perspective and storage space perspective, it's very hard to support,
00:05:51 ◼ ► because it's a pretty old processor and it has very little RAM, way less than the current models,
00:05:59 ◼ ► And so you have, I mean, like, even the ownership experience of owning a Series 3 is terrible,
00:06:11 ◼ ► but, like, this is, like, it's so hard to be an owner of this watch, because it's not only very slow by today's standards,
00:06:18 ◼ ► and doesn't support lots of things that the modern watchOS have, like the entire modern family of watch faces,
00:06:24 ◼ ► color complications, like, there's so much stuff it doesn't support at all, but it's just so slow, and there's no space.
00:06:31 ◼ ► And the hardest part of watch development, in my opinion, and let me know how this goes for you, since,
00:06:36 ◼ ► and, you know, to give you some, you know, some props here, I maintain, I've said this before,
00:06:41 ◼ ► but I maintain that you are most likely the person in the world who has done the most watchOS development,
00:06:53 ◼ ► It would not surprise me, definitely outside, it would not surprise me if you spent more time making watchOS apps than anybody even inside of Apple.
00:06:59 ◼ ► And so, the main problem that I have when I make watchOS apps, and I'm sure you've run into this a billion times more than I have,
00:07:06 ◼ ► is the resource limits are so aggressive in order to preserve performance and power efficiency with such a small device,
00:07:13 ◼ ► such a small power envelope, and so it's incredibly, it's a very harsh environment for your app to run in,
00:07:19 ◼ ► because it has to be killed constantly in the background, or crash, or have all these limits,
00:07:25 ◼ ► like, oh, you've got to use only two seconds of CPU time, and you can only update your complication, you know, x times per y,
00:07:30 ◼ ► like, it's so aggressive in its limits, and part of that aggression is because the Series 3 has such terrible hardware,
00:07:38 ◼ ► So, what I would hope, this, you know, this is terrible that we have another year where there's literally no change in that low-end lineup for the watch,
00:07:46 ◼ ► and that, like, exactly as you said, like, we all expected this year, Series 3 goes away as he becomes $199 or near that price point,
00:08:04 ◼ ► Well, that literally hasn't happened, but it seemed like it probably won't happen until possibly next fall.
00:08:08 ◼ ► My hope is that Apple will jump the gun on the software side, and that next fall, I hope they don't support the Series 3 for watchOS 9,
00:08:27 ◼ ► They could, in the middle of the year, say, "All right, maybe, like, maybe starting next spring, you know, the price of the,
00:08:33 ◼ ► maybe the Series 3 goes away, and then they do the price drop, or maybe they do it in the summer."
00:08:38 ◼ ► Who knows? Like, they could. It's just unlikely, because they haven't usually done stuff like that.
00:08:43 ◼ ► But I hope that watchOS 9, however they choose to do this, watchOS 9 should not support the Series 3.
00:08:49 ◼ ► And then that'll give us a clean break. And then we can, once we can require watchOS 9, this problem goes away for both our apps and for Apple.
00:08:57 ◼ ► Yeah, and I think the thing that makes me most frustrated is that I think what it does is it means that there is a,
00:09:04 ◼ ► like, there is a ceiling to how interesting an Apple Watch app can be, how sort of aggressive, how complicated.
00:09:20 ◼ ► Like, it's my favorite thing to do. I don't do it because I make a lot of money on that platform.
00:09:23 ◼ ► I don't do it because, like, there's fame and fortune there. I do it because I enjoy it, because I think it's fun.
00:09:28 ◼ ► I think it's really cool to come up with ideas for things that you have attached to your wrist and are accessing so fluidly throughout your day.
00:09:36 ◼ ► And it's an interesting design challenge to do something that's more on the small side, rather than dealing with, you know,
00:09:42 ◼ ► if you're designing an app for an iPhone 13 Pro Max, like, you have all the space you could ever need.
00:09:47 ◼ ► You don't have to be clever. You don't need to try and be thoughtful. Like, you can get away with a lot more.
00:09:52 ◼ ► But it's like, I enjoy it. But it feels like there's this ceiling that's just stuck there, because, I mean, either that or maybe this is something that I'm also starting to think about.
00:10:06 ◼ ► And it's like, if you're running on a Series 3, you get this just, like, super boring basic version of whatever the app is.
00:10:22 ◼ ► But just say one word to make a weather app. Again, you know, maybe they decided they wanted a new one.
00:10:26 ◼ ► Like, on the Series 3, it's just as simple as can be. It works, but is, like, and then, if you're not on a Series 3, if you're, you know, running one of the, in my mind, like, the modern watches, the Series 4 and up,
00:10:40 ◼ ► like, you get a totally different UI experience that takes advantage and looks really cool with the way the rounded corners work and the big, you know, sort of edge-to-edge screen and all of the thing and, you know, big, beefy processor.
00:10:51 ◼ ► And in some ways, like, that's where I'm starting to head towards mentally, because I feel like the Series 3 is always going to be there.
00:10:58 ◼ ► Like, you know, and if I let that be an anchor that's holding back my ideas, like, that just is depressing and it'll probably mean I won't work on those apps at all.
00:11:09 ◼ ► And so instead, it's like, this is a weird thing and it's like, yeah, you know, it's like, on the Series 3, you just get, like, a text field and that's fine.
00:11:16 ◼ ► It's like low power mode on the watch. Like, it's like, just have that be your Series 3 UI. Just like, a simple, like, one line of text.
00:11:32 ◼ ► And it's like, because it's frustrating. It's like, on a nice, on the modern Apple watches, but the big screens, with Swift UI, you can do some really cool, dynamic, interactive, like, awesome UI stuff.
00:11:46 ◼ ► And I have all these ideas for things that I want to build there that just don't work if I need to also dial it down and have it look reasonable and, you know, fit.
00:11:55 ◼ ► Like, you just can't fit very much text on a screen on a Series 3. Like, it is just an impossibly small screen for showing any amount of anything.
00:12:04 ◼ ► Especially once you take into account the fact that it's, you know, you have, even the resolution of the screen isn't the space you have to work with.
00:12:11 ◼ ► Because you have a status bar at the bottom and if you have a page, you get rid of the bottom as well.
00:12:15 ◼ ► So it's just, it's just a sort of a tricky place to be as someone who just enjoys this and wants to do it because, like, every day they're continuing to sell a lot of Series 3s.
00:12:37 ◼ ► The other thing that I was thinking about with the Apple Watch recently is, I do want, obviously, the Apple Watch is not sort of an app platform first and foremost, I would say.
00:12:47 ◼ ► I would say it is a data collection and dashboard app, or platform, first and foremost.
00:12:55 ◼ ► That it's doing a bunch of stuff in the background, that is collecting information about you for your...
00:13:02 ◼ ► Exactly. It's like, it is collecting data and that data is most, is best viewed somewhere else.
00:13:15 ◼ ► And in some ways, what I wish is that Apple made a device that was, like, it's almost like the Series 3, but really leaning into what makes it a Series 3.
00:13:24 ◼ ► Like, if the Series 3 Apple Watch didn't support third-party apps, or apps really at all, and it was just a really straightforward, like, more of a Fitbit.
00:13:31 ◼ ► Like, a device that existed for the primary purpose of basic metric display, but primarily data collection.
00:13:38 ◼ ► Like, that would be cool. That would be interesting. And as a consumer, I would enjoy if that device existed.
00:13:43 ◼ ► It's just frustrating that that device, in some ways, is turning into the Series 3 Apple Watch, which has different expectations placed on it as a user.
00:13:51 ◼ ► But... And it's like, on the other hand, I also think of, like, so that's a device that I could imagine.
00:13:58 ◼ ► That's like, that, or I could imagine a device that I would love to have an Apple Watch that had crazy long battery life, and was focused on different activities.
00:14:14 ◼ ► And you have these devices that have, you know, they can record hundreds of hours of continuous outdoor walking with GPS tracking.
00:14:23 ◼ ► And it's like hundreds of hours, like a hundred hour hike, or, you know, if you went out and did an ultra marathon, you could record the entire thing on one charge.
00:14:31 ◼ ► And it's like, that's because it's a device special purpose for that. And it's like, those devices sound really interesting, as like, sort of the lower end, not the big Cadillac Apple Watch that can do all the stuff, and has all the sensors, and has this giant gorgeous screen that goes edge to edge, and a nice powerful processor, and can do cellular, and all those things.
00:14:50 ◼ ► Like, that feels like a really interesting device, but having this Series 3a be the baseline, like, it doesn't benefit from either of those, it's just old and slow and small. And that's depressing.
00:15:02 ◼ ► Yeah, I really hope this is the last hurrah of this watch, and again, I really hope that no matter what, you know, a few people might complain about, I hope they do not support this device with watchOS 9, because that's at least one way they could kind of long term make up for what just happened.
00:15:20 ◼ ► Anyway, in happier news, we're going to go to the iPhone in a second, but we're brought to you this time by Tower. Tower is a powerful Git client app. It makes working with Git so much easier.
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00:17:04 ◼ ► Our thanks to Tower for the support of this show and Relay FM. So, in happier news, iPhones came out, and while they look pretty good, it seems like they've left us relatively little work we need to do, which is great.
00:17:19 ◼ ► No, I saw this, I had the same thought, I was like, oh, there's nothing really that I need to do.
00:17:35 ◼ ► I was looking at the simulators before I submitted it, and it looks basically the same, like nothing noticeably wrong or different. And so, it seems like, you know, there was a late-breaking rumor in the last couple of weeks that the iPhone, at least the Pro, was going to have an always-on screen.
00:17:51 ◼ ► And there might be some kind of widget thing you could do to put your apps and things on screen. And when I saw those rumors, I was like, A, that was exciting, because I think that would be pretty cool, but B, I was thinking, oh no, now we're going to have work to do at the last minute, trying to fit it all into this week.
00:18:07 ◼ ► And it turned out that didn't happen, and so we basically, these phones have nice upgrades in certain ways, but we basically have nothing to do as developers, and that's wonderful. There's no new sensors, there's kind of basically no new screen sizes, there's no new hardware capabilities as far as we can tell, unless you work on a camera app, then you probably have work to do every time.
00:18:31 ◼ ► Yeah, because I think ProMotion is the only vaguely developer feature that we need to worry about adoption with. Now we have high refresh displays on the iPhone, but my experience with developing for ProMotion on the iPad, which has had that for years, is that there's nothing really that we need to do about it, unless you have very specific types of applications where it matters what the frame rate is, but for most of us, it's just handled by the system, and it just works.
00:19:00 ◼ ► There's nothing we need to do to update our apps to take advantage of it, as far as I can tell. I certainly look forward to getting my iPhone 13 Pro and playing with ProMotion and making sure there's no weird animation artifacts or things that are being exposed as a result of that, but otherwise, it's a very nice, quiet update year.
00:19:20 ◼ ► It doesn't have anything particular that we need to deal with. Last cycle, the 12 Pro Max was this new, very big screen, but now we've been dealing with that, and we know how our apps are adapted for it, so it's nice and quiet.
00:19:36 ◼ ► It's weird, because in some ways, it's like the iPhone and iOS, both this year, I would say, were very quiet. It's the easiest summer I think I've had in recent memory, where there just wasn't much to do. There was little things I can do to take advantage of stuff, or little adaptations I need to do, but certainly on the iPhone side of things, it was a nice, quiet year, which is certainly welcome.
00:20:00 ◼ ► They don't all need to be these crazy, overwhelming summers that I'm having to burn the candle at both ends to get everything done. Instead, this year, it's just like, yeah, it's about the same. Minor tweaks here and there, and then we can just move on, I suppose.
00:20:14 ◼ ► Yeah, if anything, I would say that's actually true for almost everything they announced so far. Maybe the iPad Mini, the new screen design, all of a sudden might change certain things for iPad app physics and dimensions and stuff, but it's probably the similar resolution that they've already offered before. Certainly it would be within range, that shouldn't cause much.
00:20:36 ◼ ► Even on the watch side, besides the Series 3 drama, the Series 7 doesn't add any new sensors. It does add new screen sizes, but they're larger. Typically, going up in screen size is much easier to support than trying to scale something down.
00:20:52 ◼ ► As far as I can tell, I use mostly PDF assets for my complication images on the watch, and I have the auto scaling box checked, so I just have one PDF that I've exported. I actually use Paint Code, the app, to export PDFs of everything, so that way I don't have to deal with, okay, this one has to be two pixels wider than this one for the bigger watch. I don't deal with any of that.
00:21:12 ◼ ► So I just built the app with the new SDK and ran it in the simulators for the Series 7, and everything worked. All the images scaled up just fine. Even most of my in-app icons I use SF symbols, so it's on the watch.
00:21:24 ◼ ► So it was fine. It was a totally easy, like, "All right, build with the new SDK, test it out in the simulators," and everything just kind of looked fine and worked. I think we kind of have an off year here again, which is kind of largely echoing iOS 15 as a whole.
00:21:42 ◼ ► Like, this whole series, whether it's due to COVID or Apple's work at home situation or whether it's due to parts shortages in the supply chain or whatever, the result is we've had a pretty quiet summer with stuff we have to do, and that's great.
00:21:58 ◼ ► Like, I just submitted an update to Overcast that basically is the iOS 14 update. I now have the new CarPlay UI, I have widget support in there, and I'm basically doing all the stuff I should have been doing last summer. I'm just catching up on it now, and that looks like that's going to continue for most iOS and watch developers, which is good because we still have to support the stupid Series 3.
00:22:21 ◼ ► Yeah, no, and I think it's funny, I was still thinking about the new iPad Mini, which looks amazing, I've got to say. I think it's a really intriguing device, and I haven't ordered one yet because I want to actually go to an Apple store and hold it in my hands because I have this weird feeling that it's going to be in -- I don't know yet if it's going to be either an amazing size or if it's just in the weird, awkward middle ground where it almost feels like it's the same size as, like, a 13 Pro Max.
00:22:46 ◼ ► Like, the Pro Max versus the Mini, I feel like, are getting awfully close to each other, and so it's like, is it going to be --
00:22:52 ◼ ► It's actually like half the size. The Pro Max is like half the size of the other. People have already done the comparison.
00:22:58 ◼ ► It looks like it looks like -- I don't know if their hand models are just, like, giants, but it looks like people are just holding the iPad Mini in their hands, but I don't know. I'm very intrigued by it as a device, but I'm not super worried about adapting my UIs to it because if you have an app that looks good on the Pro Max and works as an iPad app, then it should sort of be kind of fluidly in between the two.
00:23:31 ◼ ► The only thing I was going to think of -- it's been a quiet year you were saying this, and it's like, I usually try and be very positive. I try and be very uplifting, but I will say, for a year that's so quiet in terms of actual changes in the development platform, I'm so confused as to why the developer tools feel like they took a step back this year.
00:23:49 ◼ ► We just got the gold master Xcode for Xcode 13, and it's just, like, weirdly broken in lots of strange ways.
00:23:58 ◼ ► Xcode is the whole month of August, and it was broken for the whole month. The last build we got before the RC build was August 10th.
00:24:06 ◼ ► I don't know what's happening there, and hopefully it's just one of these weird timing things, and the next .1 release of Xcode will fix things, but I never like the feeling where I have to run weird user defaults things at the terminal to fix my developer tools, or go into the scheme editor and turn off something, like some weird setting, so that I don't get instant crashes anytime I try and fix it.
00:24:35 ◼ ► I don't know what happened. It just seems very strange that the developer tools seem in a weird place right now, and hopefully it's just a transient thing, but I did certainly, it's like, it was a strange thing for a, I'm glad, honestly, that I didn't have a lot of iOS 15 work that I had to do this summer, because I've actually done most of my work on iOS, like, it's weird to say, but I'm doing my iOS 15 work, but on the iOS 14 SDK and just using the tools there as best I can, and I'm just like, I'm not going to do that anymore.
00:24:59 ◼ ► It's weird to say, but I'm doing my iOS 15 work, but on the iOS 14 SDK and just using the tools there as best I can, and just like commenting out lines, and because of the way SwiftUI works, I can do a lot of things.
00:25:11 ◼ ► If I'm doing backwards compatible, I can kind of do some of the work to adapt to the new stuff, but just using the old tools, and yeah, it's a weird place to be, and so I hope that gets resolved too, because at least that feels like a problem that will actually get resolved in a timely way, versus the, obviously, the Series 3 problem.
00:25:28 ◼ ► This is not going away any time soon, but that was certainly something else that I was all excited with.
00:25:33 ◼ ► Yeah, we've had this last beta for over a month of Xcode, and it's like, oh, they're just holding stuff back for the gold master, and then once the gold master comes out, everything will be smooth sailing, and it is not smooth sailing yet, so hopefully that smooth sailing will come at some point soon.
00:25:48 ◼ ► Yeah, it was kind of funny, the theory was they were holding it back because they didn't want to unveil things that might reveal new hardware features of all the new devices that were coming, and all the new devices come out with no new hardware features.
00:26:00 ◼ ► I guess the only other thing worth mentioning quickly, I guess, is that all the App Store legal challenges,
00:26:29 ◼ ► and things that have been coming out, we had the Epic Judgment be issued since our last episode, I believe the Japan Fair Trade Commission thing was also done since then, and it seems like a lot of that ground is shifting now, and that's far from being over, and this hasn't even fully shaken out yet.
00:26:50 ◼ ► There still could be appeals, and a lot of this stuff is still kind of hand-wavy on what changes will actually take place, and what the rules will actually become, so this could very much change what you're able to do in your iOS apps as far as your business model, or your payment system, or whatever else, but it's probably best, I think, for us to just kind of wait and see on this, because again, it depends so much, like, we don't really know what the future will hold, like what you'll actually be allowed to do,
00:27:19 ◼ ► will you also have to use in-app purchase, what will the rules actually be, will this weird quote reader app distinction hold forever, or will it grow to include more categories, it's such a weird thing, so I think in that area, it seems like there's both a lot to talk about, but also, like, kind of not much for developers to really do about it yet.
00:27:39 ◼ ► Yeah, and I think a weird way it reminds me of, just as like, the way that I go into a lot of events, where you think about, there's all these rumors that come out, and all these possibilities, and people say, "Oh, we were going to get a flat-sided Apple Watch," or "Oh, it was going to do this," or "This phone's going to do that," and you have all these, this sort of, this universe that gets painted of possibility, and as soon as the event happens, like half of it, just, or 90% of that sort of speculation and this wide range of options just completely disappear.
00:28:08 ◼ ► And you end up with the actual truth, and with the actual reality of whatever that thing is, and you can like it or you cannot like it, but it becomes true.
00:28:16 ◼ ► And I feel like a lot of this App Store stuff is going in the same way, where there's this so much, there's this very wide sense of uncertainty about what's going to happen in the App Store, about what the rules are going to be, about what's going to be allowed, what's not going to be allowed, if it's going to be imposed by legislation or a lawsuit, and all of that possibility is interesting, certainly, to sort of speculate a bit about it.
00:28:37 ◼ ► But the reality is, I'm interested for when Apple actually changes their rules, or when the things actually come into effect, because that's when it'll actually affect my business, and that's when it will actually be a choice that I need to make.
00:28:49 ◼ ► And until then, it's just speculation, and I don't think it's actually very productive for me to get too wrapped around it, because it's not, it doesn't exist.
00:28:58 ◼ ► It's like, and I could start to think about it a little bit to be prepared, but for the most part, it's like, even with the injunction that comes out of the epic suit, it's like, what does it mean? Who knows?
00:29:10 ◼ ► It depends what Apple says, it depends what Apple does after appeal, or after Epic's appeal, and it's like, it can go round and round.
00:29:18 ◼ ► And so, it's like, I'm not going to spend my sort of cognitive resources worrying about that yet. I'll worry about it when it actually comes into existence, becomes a real thing, rather than just a rumor.
00:29:33 ◼ ► Yeah, I think given the legally tricky status of a lot of that stuff, it's also probably best not to be a trailblazer in that area. Let other people go first.