Developing Perspective

#147: Our Retina Futures.


00:00:00   Hello and welcome to Developing Perspective. Developing Perspective is a podcast discussing

00:00:04   news of note and iOS development, Apple and the like. I'm your host, David Smith. I'm

00:00:08   an independent iOS developer based in Herne, Virginia. This is show number 147. Today is

00:00:13   Friday, October 18th. Developing Perspective is never longer than 15 minutes, so let's

00:00:17   get started.

00:00:18   All right, so I've got a couple of little things I'm going to run through. It's going

00:00:21   to be a bit more of a grab bag show. Like I said, if you're wondering why there was

00:00:24   no show last week, it's because I was over at the Singleton Symposium in Montreal, which

00:00:29   which was an excellent time.

00:00:30   And I got to meet many listeners there.

00:00:32   So thanks if you were one of the people who stopped by,

00:00:35   introduced yourself, and let me know that you were a listener

00:00:38   and talked a little bit about what you do and things.

00:00:40   It's always just an absolute delight to meet you and talk

00:00:44   to you.

00:00:45   Just to be able to put a face, put a story,

00:00:49   essentially on a download number, which otherwise

00:00:52   is about all I get.

00:00:53   So it was definitely great.

00:00:55   The actual conference itself is my second time

00:00:58   going to Singleton and it was great.

00:01:00   I'm not a huge conference goer.

00:01:02   I'm not one of these, and I know some people,

00:01:04   some people I work with or know,

00:01:06   who especially in the fall it seems

00:01:08   are going to a different conference every other week

00:01:10   and they're all over the place.

00:01:11   I personally, I just, I'm not a huge,

00:01:14   I don't like that kind of travel too much,

00:01:16   you know, being away from friends and family

00:01:17   as well as just in general, they're a tricky thing,

00:01:21   I think, to find in terms of justifying the time

00:01:24   and energy and expense of going.

00:01:26   So I try to limit how many I go to and try

00:01:29   to be really focused about the ones that I go to

00:01:31   or the ones that I think I'm going to get the most out of.

00:01:33   And for Singleton, what I think that I find most interesting

00:01:36   is that the talks are good.

00:01:37   And as conferences go, they're very good.

00:01:40   The thing that I find that's most interesting, though,

00:01:42   is it seems to self-select for a very good group of people.

00:01:45   That there's a very solid base of people

00:01:48   who are doing interesting things, who

00:01:50   are thinking in interesting ways.

00:01:52   And so it's kind of awesome to sit down and just spend

00:01:54   weekend talking to them around the table, in the hotel,

00:01:59   just throughout the weekend, to be talking about what's going on and to understand from different people's perspective

00:02:04   what they're thinking about the industry, what they're thinking about their jobs, what they're thinking about in all areas.

00:02:09   And so that's kind of exciting and that's kind of cool. And so I've been pretty psyched to go and if they do it again next

00:02:16   year, I'll probably be there again. It's a good time.

00:02:20   Next thing I want to talk into is--

00:02:22   this is an expansion of what I talked about last episode,

00:02:25   two weeks ago, I think it was-- where so pedometer++'s update

00:02:29   when one was approved.

00:02:30   And this includes a whole bunch of features and things,

00:02:35   including the tip jar that I had talked about before.

00:02:38   And since I submitted it, there's

00:02:40   definitely been a little bit of a back and forth.

00:02:42   I've been talking to a lot of different people.

00:02:44   Some people were like, oh no, that'll never get approved.

00:02:45   Some people said, oh yeah, I've used apps

00:02:47   that had to have that same concept or do that same thing.

00:02:50   And long story short, I said it was approved.

00:02:52   There was no fuss.

00:02:53   Apple didn't give me any questions,

00:02:55   and there was nothing at all.

00:02:57   And I think just generally, either it's a change in policy,

00:02:59   or it's more likely than not, it seems,

00:03:02   it's a change in enforcement in terms of if there ever

00:03:04   was a time when something like a tip jar or sort of pay

00:03:08   what you want kind of scheme didn't fly in the App Store,

00:03:11   that seems to have been passed now.

00:03:12   That I think at this point, it seems that's OK.

00:03:14   And I think largely that it probably

00:03:16   has to do with the general movement in the App Store

00:03:19   towards things like in-app purchases and consumable in-app purchases and people buying Smurf Berries

00:03:25   and those types of things.

00:03:27   And I think generally speaking, the policy now is there are still some restrictions on

00:03:32   what you can use for in-app purchases.

00:03:33   You can't use them for charitable donations.

00:03:36   You can't use them to buy physical goods.

00:03:38   There's things that if you look in the app review guidelines, there are very specific

00:03:41   things that it says you can't do.

00:03:42   But I think otherwise, it's up to us as developers to be creative, to think about how we can

00:03:47   can you use that to leverage our audience

00:03:52   and to make a good living from an app,

00:03:59   or to maximize the income that we get from it.

00:04:02   It's definitely not like taking the approach that I took

00:04:05   of having kind of a tip jar, a gratuity,

00:04:07   kind of a pay what you want type of scheme,

00:04:10   isn't definitely not for every app.

00:04:12   There are some apps where it just wouldn't make sense,

00:04:14   some apps where it wouldn't work.

00:04:15   I think, for example, of my weather app, Check the Weather,

00:04:15   which it would be very difficult to have this kind of a scheme

00:04:18   work because I have to pay for the data sources and things

00:04:23   that I use for it.

00:04:24   And so there's a fairly high infrastructure cost per user.

00:04:28   Not massive by any means, but easily overcome

00:04:30   by just a basic purchase of the application or something

00:04:35   like that.

00:04:35   But it would be very complicated, I think,

00:04:37   if I was basing the entire income of the app

00:04:40   just sort of a vague solicitation for revenue. But one thing that I will mention, and I'll

00:04:48   probably, I want to give it a couple weeks before I actually kind of draw conclusions

00:04:53   about its performance. I'd say the Tipjar kind of concept has been performing well,

00:04:57   in line roughly with what I was hoping you were expecting. But I want to give it a little

00:05:01   bit because whenever you launch something new, there's always a big spike at the beginning,

00:05:05   and I want to see where it settles down before I start drawing conclusions. The one thing

00:05:09   that I do think I can draw some conclusions about, and this was something that I saw in

00:05:13   the, or I intentionally did in the way I structured it, that I thought would work and it seems

00:05:17   to have worked, is I split it into three groups. This is kind of the classic, there's an economics

00:05:25   or a psychology term for this, but essentially what I did is I split it into three groups

00:05:30   primarily to try and steer people towards the middle group. And so I have it, you know,

00:05:36   Basically, I think in the app, you can do a $2, a $5, or a $20 tip.

00:05:41   And I've had some of each.

00:05:45   And the interesting thing that I find, though, is that the volume of $5 tips,

00:05:47   the one sort of in the middle, is roughly equal to that of the $2 tips so far.

00:05:52   And it's sort of what I would have hoped to happen,

00:05:57   because what I'm trying to do is you're trying to say that if the person is willing to give you any money,

00:05:59   then there's a good chance they're willing to give you $4 or $5.

00:06:01   And so I'm raising that up rather than just offer--

00:06:04   if I just had a tip jar with a $2 thing,

00:06:09   I wouldn't get quite as much out of that.

00:06:12   A lot of people want the middle.

00:06:13   They see the $20, they're like, I'm

00:06:14   not going to give $20 for an app.

00:06:15   I've had a few of those, and I'm very appreciative for them.

00:06:18   But I think by staking out the middle ground,

00:06:23   then oh, I can just-- I could do $2, $5, or $20?

00:06:26   Maybe I'll do $5.

00:06:28   And that seems to have been worked,

00:06:29   It's just a little validating to see that actually happen.

00:06:32   All right.

00:06:33   And then the last topic I want to talk about

00:06:35   is the Apple event next Tuesday.

00:06:37   That's kind of interesting.

00:06:38   This Tuesday I'll be away on travel,

00:06:40   and so I won't actually be around to see the event itself

00:06:44   or the live stream of it or whatever ends up happening.

00:06:47   If it's a live stream, if it's a live blog, whatever.

00:06:49   I'll actually just sort of be gone for most of the day.

00:06:52   And so it'll be kind of interesting.

00:06:53   I may actually just sit down and watch it

00:06:55   end-to-end live from the podcast that's distributed afterwards.

00:06:59   which could be kind of fun.

00:07:00   I have something I haven't really done ever.

00:07:02   I've always been just in the moment of it,

00:07:04   following what's going on on Twitter,

00:07:06   following the news and the write-ups and the opinion.

00:07:08   It could be kind of interesting to-- I mean,

00:07:10   I guess other than when I was actually in the room,

00:07:12   it's going to be kind of fun to just sit down, sit on a sofa,

00:07:15   sit back and watch the event.

00:07:16   But I think it's going to be an interesting event.

00:07:19   There's a lot going on.

00:07:20   There's not a huge amount necessarily

00:07:22   that's super relevant for developers.

00:07:24   The most relevant developer part,

00:07:26   as I was thinking about it, beyond just

00:07:28   like we all want a retina cinema display, we all want Mac Pros,

00:07:33   those types of things.

00:07:34   But the thing that I think from a development side

00:07:37   that I'm most interested in is whether they take the iPad

00:07:41   Mini and make it retina.

00:07:43   Because if they do that, I think it will wrap--

00:07:45   it will help next-- it will sort of be

00:07:49   the end of non-retina development on iOS

00:07:54   at some level.

00:07:54   Because at that point, I believe, all of the new devices

00:07:57   that they're going to be selling are probably going to be Retina.

00:08:00   Which is interesting if you are in a situation right now where, for example, on the iPhone

00:08:09   all devices that support iOS 7 are only Retina devices.

00:08:16   And so it's kind of an interesting asset in developing where in theory I could remove

00:08:21   non-Retina assets from the app to save a little space.

00:08:25   I haven't actually done that because it just feels a little foolish at this point.

00:08:28   It's a little too early in that there may be instances where they're used or just--I

00:08:34   don't even know exactly, but it feels a little funny for a savings of not a huge amount because

00:08:39   the retina assets tend to be the ones that really are the large-sized ones.

00:08:42   But if they do that on the iPad--and this is actually probably why I keep them in too,

00:08:46   because if you run an iPhone app, you can still run it on a non-retina iPad.

00:08:50   But right now, if the mini goes retina,

00:08:55   then probably the entire lineup

00:08:57   of currently being sold devices will be retina.

00:08:59   So I think it'll be interesting to see where that goes.

00:09:02   I think there will potentially be a point

00:09:04   where we drop support here,

00:09:06   where we just sort of drop non-retina graphics.

00:09:08   And so like add2x becomes this kind of strange thing

00:09:11   that if you're a new developer,

00:09:13   you're like, "Why do I have to add 2x to everything?

00:09:15   And why are we dealing in, why is everything,

00:09:15   why are all the-- everything's in points,

00:09:18   but a point is half of a pixel.

00:09:22   Or, I'm sorry, a point is two pixels.

00:09:24   And if that's what it always is, it seems kind of silly.

00:09:27   So I think that's where we'll be heading.

00:09:29   And if I had-- I bet a sandwich on that's

00:09:32   where they're heading, because I think

00:09:35   as I was traveling back from Singleton, we took the train,

00:09:37   and my wife was reading a book on her iPad Mini, which

00:09:41   is a great device for that.

00:09:42   But I was looking at it, and it just seems like, oh, it

00:09:44   It would be so much nicer if it was a retina display.

00:09:47   Especially for those kinds of text oriented and reading

00:09:51   applications, it would be amazing.

00:09:52   I think iOS 7 especially looks really--

00:09:56   it looks pretty rough on a non-retina device,

00:09:59   because there's a lot of thin lines and a lot of things

00:10:01   that work well when you have a really high DPI.

00:10:05   Something that's probably coming.

00:10:07   Personally, I think as I'm looking to this event,

00:10:09   the thing that I will-- it's like in rough order of what

00:10:12   would expect to buy out of it.

00:10:15   If they do anything new with the Cinema Display,

00:10:17   I'll almost certainly get one.

00:10:18   Hopefully it would be a 4K display or something

00:10:21   like it, a retina Cinema Display.

00:10:24   Honestly, at almost any price, I'd

00:10:26   probably buy one of those, because I

00:10:28   love my Retina MacBook Pro.

00:10:30   It's a beautiful display, but I end up

00:10:34   spending most of my time, though,

00:10:35   sitting in front of a non-retina LED display.

00:10:38   I think I have the one with the generation

00:10:41   before the Thunderbolt display, which works well.

00:10:45   It works well enough, but I really would love to have Retina,

00:10:48   especially as development is going more and more Retina,

00:10:51   whenever I run the simulator and it accidentally launches on my non-Retina display,

00:10:55   it looks, you know, either if it's an iPad, it jumps up to huge.

00:10:59   A Retina iPad is bigger, essentially, than my massive 27-inch display,

00:11:05   which is a little bit absurd.

00:11:08   So I'd definitely buy one of those almost at any cost.

00:11:11   The Mac Pro is an interesting question.

00:11:14   I'm not sure if I'll get one.

00:11:16   I'll definitely wait and see how benchmarks come out,

00:11:18   how usability of it works out, those types of things.

00:11:21   And honestly, how the pricing works out, especially

00:11:24   compared to the Haswell Retina Mac Pros that are likely coming.

00:11:28   The thing that is funny about a Mac Pro to me

00:11:31   is that it's not mobile.

00:11:33   And while I don't work-- increasingly,

00:11:36   I've been working from one place.

00:11:37   I've been working from home more since I recently moved house.

00:11:41   And generally, I can work-- I do probably 80% of my work,

00:11:45   85% of my work at one place now.

00:11:48   And so I could probably justify getting a Mac Pro.

00:11:50   And honestly, the new Mac Pro is small enough

00:11:53   that if you wanted to take it with you

00:11:55   on a semi-temporary basis, you probably could pretty easily.

00:11:59   I mean, you could basically just put it in a backpack,

00:12:01   it looks like.

00:12:02   It's not this massive-- the old style one,

00:12:05   you could never really move around.

00:12:07   But this guy, hey, maybe just throw in your backpack

00:12:08   when you're going into the office.

00:12:10   It's not the kind of thing you can use on the go,

00:12:12   but if you're kind of moving from one place to another,

00:12:14   me and him, we could pretty reasonably do it.

00:12:16   You know, in kind of a crazy way.

00:12:18   But what I'm very most curious, though,

00:12:21   is to see where they end up going with the Retina MacBook

00:12:23   Pro and the Mac Pro.

00:12:25   If the new displays are only, for example,

00:12:27   only drivable by the Mac Pro, then they'll probably

00:12:30   end up getting a Mac Pro.

00:12:31   If they're drivable by, say, like a new Haswell Retina

00:12:35   and a MacBook Pro.

00:12:36   And I'd struggle.

00:12:37   I'd have to decide exactly which one I want to do.

00:12:40   I've been very happy with my Retina MacBook Pro.

00:12:42   And I do like not having to sync files back and forth

00:12:44   or worry about where things are.

00:12:46   Though a lot of that gets much simpler now

00:12:48   that a lot of my files are in Dropbox

00:12:49   or they're synced in various ways.

00:12:52   So it's not quite as hard as it used to be,

00:12:54   but it still got always kind of annoying

00:12:56   to have to jump between two different machines.

00:12:58   So I'll have to see.

00:12:59   Then there's all kinds of other random stuff

00:13:01   that we never know we'll see.

00:13:02   It seems like it's going to be kind of a crazy event,

00:13:04   the number of things that Apple's promised but hasn't shipped yet.

00:13:09   And we're kind of getting towards the end of the fall.

00:13:13   Or more honestly, really, we're getting towards the point where they'd want to get everything in, what do they call it, in channel, or in market,

00:13:15   so that it's there for the holiday season.

00:13:22   So I think it'll be an interesting event.

00:13:24   Hopefully, Mavericks will ship those types of things.

00:13:25   It doesn't really affect me too much.

00:13:27   I don't do very much Mac development anymore.

00:13:28   But yeah, so it should be interesting.

00:13:32   And I think the funny part, of course, is once that happens, once that Apple event happens, more likely than not, there will be a lot of

00:13:33   not there will be a very long, long radio silence again. I remember last year how it

00:13:38   was just kind of driving, I think, a lot of the tech press crazy, how Apple did all this

00:13:43   stuff in the fall and then it was just silent for essentially the whole rest of the year,

00:13:49   with a few minor updates here and there. But generally speaking, it was very quiet. So

00:13:54   that's kind of interesting. So we'll see. But anyway, like I said, I'll be traveling

00:13:58   a little bit more next week. I should have an episode though towards the end, and then

00:14:02   I think you should settle back into a normal schedule.

00:14:07   Apologies for missing last week,

00:14:09   but you know, these things happen.

00:14:10   If you want to get ahold of me,

00:14:12   the best way to do that is, of course,

00:14:13   @_davidsmith on Twitter,