Developing Perspective

#142: iPhone 5s/5c First Impressions.


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

00:00:07   news of note and iOS development, Apple and the like. I'm your host, David Smith. I'm

00:00:09   an independent iOS developer based in Virginia. This is show number 142, and today is Tuesday,

00:00:14   September 10th. The Developing Perspective is never longer than 15 minutes, so let's

00:00:18   get started.

00:00:19   All right, so this is the first impressions from today's Apple event show. I'm not sure

00:00:24   how long it'll end up being, but I just kind of -- what I find is sometimes kind of fun

00:00:27   is kind of fun is to talk about my initial impressions and then to give a, you know,

00:00:31   sort of my usual schedule, maybe sort of Thursday, Friday this week, I'll give a more, I don't

00:00:37   even know, like once it's all sunk in, and a lot of people have kind of mulled it over

00:00:41   and we see exactly what happens. But these are kind of my first impressions. So the event

00:00:45   itself was roughly as expected, which is, which is good and bad, I suppose. In some

00:00:52   ways it makes me happy when things go as expected because when you make your livelihood on the

00:00:57   basis of the success of something, in some ways the last thing you want is change. Change

00:01:03   is just dangerous. It's not necessarily good or bad. It's just dangerous. You never know

00:01:07   what's going to happen. You never know if Apple goes off the rails in a weird way or

00:01:14   if they introduce new software that competes with your own, you get Sherlock. All those

00:01:17   kinds of things are just -- it creates a certain amount of uncertainty. So generally it would

00:01:21   sort of as expected. And so what I tried to do, though, is after the event, after, you

00:01:25   know, sitting there reading all the live blogs, participating a little bit in the conversation

00:01:29   on Twitter and so on, and talking about sort of what happened, I tried to take a step back

00:01:34   and be like, if I was just a normal consumer, what would I think of this, this update? And

00:01:39   I think it's probably one of the most significant updates to the iPhone for quite a while, from

00:01:48   from a customer-facing perspective.

00:01:50   It's the biggest obvious change.

00:01:51   If you're in a mall, walking down,

00:01:55   and you look in the window, and rather than seeing the iPhone

00:01:58   that looks kind of like the iPhone's always been

00:02:01   for a while, it's now colorful.

00:02:03   It's got this very much more vibrant visual appearance,

00:02:07   and this much more varied visual appearance.

00:02:11   I think you'd be like, huh, I wonder what Apple's doing there,

00:02:14   or I wonder what's going on there.

00:02:16   And I think that's pretty interesting.

00:02:17   And then when you see something kind of like what they did with the fingerprint recognition,

00:02:23   it's kind of one of those cooler things.

00:02:25   It's a very tactile, kind of show and tell kind of a feature that I think will get a

00:02:31   lot of interest in it.

00:02:32   And I think in that sense it was a very -- it's a very solid lineup this fall.

00:02:36   And I would expect anyway that it will do pretty well.

00:02:40   I think the changes that they made in terms of sort of switching up the lineup in the

00:02:47   this way, I think ultimately is mostly just a marketing, it's a very much a market marketing,

00:02:53   driven driven maneuver, that is clearly going after different segments of the market. That

00:02:59   Apple is rather than just playing the high end sort of premium, they only ever sell sort

00:03:08   of what was once the best phone approach with one or two models, essentially, they're wildly

00:03:14   diversifying in the hopes, I imagine, of sort of capitalizing on a wider user base, of appealing

00:03:20   to different people for who they may have been discouraged to get from otherwise. And

00:03:25   then the reality is they took the best, I mean, it's not even just my opinion as someone

00:03:31   who really likes Apple products. They took the best phone, according to a lot of people,

00:03:35   a lot of surveys, a lot of reports, a lot of those types of more objective measures,

00:03:40   And they made it better.

00:03:41   You know, the 5S is a better phone than the 5 that I have sitting on my desk right now,

00:03:48   in terms of, you know, it's faster, it has a better camera, and it has a fingerprint

00:03:53   sensor on it, which are probably the three features that are probably most notable as

00:03:57   improved.

00:03:58   And all those together is definitely cool, and I'm definitely, you know, I'm going to

00:04:01   get one.

00:04:02   And then they took, rather than taking the 5, which is a very, very solid phone, I mean,

00:04:07   And I'm very happy with my 5.

00:04:08   And if it weren't for the fact that I've seen what a 5S is,

00:04:12   I'd be pretty happy to keep using it for a while.

00:04:15   They took that, and they made it interesting in another way.

00:04:18   So rather than just being, oh, that's last year's phone,

00:04:20   it's a new phone.

00:04:21   Its internals are basically the same.

00:04:23   And Apple can probably take advantage

00:04:24   of a lot of the economies of scale

00:04:27   that they have going with that.

00:04:28   But the exterior is very different.

00:04:31   It looks nothing like a previous phone.

00:04:33   And so now on the lower end, for $100,

00:04:36   can get into an iPhone and be able to sort of get into that and start using an iPhone

00:04:43   if you weren't able to do that previously without feeling like you're buying something

00:04:46   that's old. So both of those I think are huge things. And I think they're, you know, I think

00:04:54   it makes me feel good about, you know, sort of hitching my wagon to Apple in terms of

00:05:00   this is where I'm going to make my living. This is the app store I'm going to focus on.

00:05:04   I feel pretty good about it.

00:05:06   It seems like they're making solid progress.

00:05:10   And it's solid and incremental and not dramatic.

00:05:12   And that's good.

00:05:13   And so overall, I'm pretty happy.

00:05:15   I think the thing that I'm probably most excited about,

00:05:17   on a practical basis, is the fingerprint reader on the 5S,

00:05:21   which is just useful.

00:05:23   It's one of those things that it solves

00:05:24   a really common annoyance in a really reasonable way.

00:05:31   Especially, I don't know, one of the things that drives me crazy is every time I buy anything

00:05:35   in the App Store, iTunes, whatever it is, you have to enter your Apple ID.

00:05:39   And so I find that I enter my Apple ID often probably once a day, on average at least.

00:05:45   And as a result, it's perhaps not the strongest password as it should be, which is a little

00:05:50   awkward because a lot of things are tied to my Apple ID and it's kind of an important

00:05:53   thing to me.

00:05:54   And so what I like now is that I can make those purchases with my fingerprint and still

00:06:00   then retain a very strong password for my Apple ID.

00:06:02   And I think that's going to be a big win for a security

00:06:05   perspective as well as usability perspective.

00:06:08   And being able to unlock it, that's useful.

00:06:10   But mostly I'm thinking about being

00:06:12   able to use that as a sense of identity

00:06:14   that I can associate with myself.

00:06:17   And it's funny.

00:06:18   I was reading the Hacker News thread about the event.

00:06:22   And it seemed like most people, they

00:06:23   were worried about that, oh, the NSA

00:06:25   is going to steal your fingerprints and all

00:06:27   this kind of thing.

00:06:28   which I suppose for some people is a concern.

00:06:32   For me, it's one of those things I've done government contracting, so the government

00:06:35   has my fingerprints.

00:06:36   I'm also an immigrant, they have my fingerprints.

00:06:38   I'm not too worried about it.

00:06:40   And so I think it's kind of an overblown concern.

00:06:45   The reality is, I think Apple is pretty honest when they say that they're keeping the data

00:06:49   locally and the reality is that data is something that is personal, but it's not sensitive,

00:06:55   I don't think, in a lot of ways.

00:06:58   Anyway, and then next thing I was going to talk briefly about is the switch to a 64-bit

00:07:02   processor for the 5S.

00:07:04   And I must certainly put out there that I'm no expert on exactly all this.

00:07:09   A lot of people who've gone through the 32-bit to the 64-bit transition on the Mac are probably

00:07:15   better able to speak to exactly the implications of this.

00:07:18   It seems like in a lot of ways, if you're structuring -- unless you're doing deep sort

00:07:23   of mathematical computations in a lot of things and you're structuring your application in

00:07:26   in a reasonable way, the impacts on you are going to be relatively light.

00:07:30   There's some -- because the change is much more low level than a lot of things will be

00:07:35   impacted by.

00:07:36   And the reality is it's just going forward, things should just be faster and better for

00:07:40   customers.

00:07:41   It's one of those changes where there's really no user-facing benefit to something being

00:07:46   64-bit.

00:07:47   It's just faster and better for a lot of the sort of really, really low-level stuff that

00:07:52   I'm not even fully capable of talking about.

00:07:54   But so far, it seems pretty good at this point

00:07:57   that you can only try and read through the guide

00:08:00   for the 64-bit transition guide.

00:08:04   Make sure your apps are in line with what's going on there.

00:08:07   Do some basic testing.

00:08:08   But until you really have a 5S to try and play with,

00:08:11   you won't really know exactly if you

00:08:13   have any weird edge cases or places

00:08:14   where things are going to be problematic.

00:08:16   But so far, so good for my initial testing.

00:08:18   It doesn't seem like it's going to be a huge pain to update,

00:08:21   too, which is exciting.

00:08:23   And having that transition, a transition of that significance,

00:08:27   be this seamless, definitely means

00:08:28   that Apple is making really solid investments

00:08:31   in the tools and the capabilities

00:08:32   and the frameworks and the way they've structured things

00:08:35   to hide that a lot away from developers, which I definitely

00:08:38   am grateful for and commend them for doing that.

00:08:41   So anyway, so I'm going to talk a little bit about just

00:08:43   the actual process from here.

00:08:44   So the gold master was released, the SDK.

00:08:48   So if you were working on an update,

00:08:50   that's iOS 7 ready or only or anything like that,

00:08:53   it's now's the time to get that polished, submitted,

00:08:57   sent off to the App Store.

00:08:59   I believe they started accepting admissions to iTunes

00:09:02   late this afternoon.

00:09:03   I've already sort of submitted the initial runs of all

00:09:07   of the apps that I'm expecting to do iOS 7 updates for

00:09:11   in the hopes of for day one.

00:09:13   So day one is going to be a week from tomorrow.

00:09:16   So it's a week from Wednesday.

00:09:18   If you're listening to this on Wednesday, it's in one week.

00:09:21   And this is what they've done pretty much always before the iOS will launch.

00:09:25   The Wednesday before the iPhone launched, the iPhone will launch on that Friday.

00:09:28   It gives you kind of this nice little transition period where you can focus on your updates

00:09:31   right before there's new hardware and that kind of new rush.

00:09:35   And so, yeah, so I've submitted all those.

00:09:37   I took the risk or the gamble, I guess you could say, of doing just some basic smoke

00:09:43   testing, which is, I believe, an electronics term from what

00:09:47   you used to-- you'd build a circuit, you'd turn it on,

00:09:50   and you'd see if any smoke came out.

00:09:51   And if smoke didn't come out, if your circuit board didn't

00:09:54   explode, you didn't necessarily know if it worked 100%,

00:09:57   but you knew it wasn't on fire.

00:09:59   And so that's a lot of what I've done.

00:10:00   I've been doing extensive testing of the last release

00:10:02   candidates-- or not release candidates, the last betas.

00:10:05   But I got the GM seed, did some basic smoke testing,

00:10:09   and then submitted it to the app store to sort of get myself

00:10:11   in line.

00:10:12   And then I'll be spending the next few days going through

00:10:14   and doing very extensive testing on device

00:10:17   in lots of different places and doing all the really rigorous

00:10:20   testing that I would hope to do in the hopes of finding

00:10:22   something.

00:10:23   If I find something, I'll reject the binary and resubmit.

00:10:26   But my hope is that the testing I've done before

00:10:30   will help get me ready to a point

00:10:31   that that won't be the case.

00:10:33   I would have just been able to get in line really early on

00:10:36   so I can go through the review process and make sure I'm ready.

00:10:39   Or in worst case, if they find something, it gets rejected.

00:10:43   And then I have a chance of resubmitting in time

00:10:45   to still make it in.

00:10:47   So we'll see.

00:10:48   And then I guess where it goes from here.

00:10:49   It'll be kind of a fun kind of week.

00:10:51   It's a little bit sad that they're not

00:10:53   allowing pre-orders of the 5S.

00:10:54   So I'm likely going to be ending up sort of waiting in line

00:10:58   probably next Friday, which is a little awkward.

00:11:01   I feel like I'm a little too old to be sitting out

00:11:04   in a lawn chair at 3 in the morning outside of a Apple

00:11:07   store.

00:11:08   But we'll see.

00:11:10   I'm probably not going to get a 5C.

00:11:13   I was looking at it, and it seems like tech spec-wise,

00:11:15   it's almost exactly identical to a 5.

00:11:17   And so unless something comes out later when I fix it,

00:11:20   does a teardown, and it has vastly different memory

00:11:23   characteristics or something like that,

00:11:26   it seems like a 5 is going to be a pretty good example of it

00:11:30   for testing and compatibility reasons.

00:11:32   So I'll be getting a 5S, and it should be pretty good.

00:11:37   It's always exciting to have a new phone.

00:11:39   It's kind of one of these devices, I guess,

00:11:41   or the benefits of being app developers.

00:11:43   I feel like I can justify getting a new phone every year,

00:11:45   even if I'm off cycle and it's going

00:11:47   to be a little bit more expensive.

00:11:49   But anyway, so that's my first impressions.

00:11:51   Like I said, I'll probably have something a little later

00:11:52   in the week, maybe.

00:11:53   But otherwise, I'm just excited.

00:11:55   I think it was solid.

00:11:56   It's not surprising, and that's bad,

00:11:58   and that's not bad all at the same time.

00:12:01   Overall, I would say it met expectations.

00:12:03   If I was giving it a report card,

00:12:05   I would say that met expectations, and that's good.

00:12:08   It's not surprising in a bad way, it's not surprising in a good way.

00:12:10   It's just met expectations, and I'll just keep going.

00:12:13   It seems to be working so far.

00:12:14   All right, that's it for today's show.

00:12:16   As always, if you have questions, comments, concerns, or complaints, I'm on Twitter @_davidsmith,

00:12:20   david@developmentprospective.com.

00:12:21   Otherwise, if you have a great week, good luck with those updates.

00:12:25   Happy coding, and I will talk to you later.