Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Chromecast Audio

Chromecast Audio makes good sense - it seems like Google's approach to Airplay and so allows a phone or computer to "cast" audio to a speaker.  Apple TV and Airport Express do the same thing but, as Apple TV morphs into a more full-fledged console and given the Airport Express's wider mandate (router, printer hub, etc.), this is a reasonable slot to fill.  And the 3rd generation Apple TV is still a little pricey (and big) to act merely as a speaker bridge.

A simpler "Apple Audio" dongle could respond directly but I still think an even more interesting approach would be to take the Airport Express (and Airport Extreme - which, bafflingly, does not have speaker output) and allow Apple Music to run directly on the router rather than simply act as a bridge between the computer and speaker.  This would avoid lag and help battery life enormously.

Monday, September 28, 2015

New Apple TV (4th generation)

I understand that the new Apple TV will be available in two different storage sizes: 32GB and 64GB.  What I can't figure out is why we would need 64GB.  I'm sure there is a good reason but I can't find anything that gives the answer.  Movies, music and photos are currently streamed and that shouldn't need to change.  And I understand that apps will be downloaded in chunks on an as-needed basis so we shouldn't need to have every single app onboard at all times.

A few guesses:
1) to avoid stuttering from slow or choppy downloads.  Lots of storage will help avoid this BUT: any meaningful size should be enough and the initial download will still be at the mercy of download quality (assuming the app or stream is used immediately)
2) to use when not connected to the internet.  Maybe?  But seems weird for an at-home device.
3) to store non-internet based items.  Home movies?  But 64GB (or even 32GB) seems like either too little or too much.  Too little if you really want to use the Apple TV for storage.  Too much if it is just a temporary repository.

None of these makes sense.

A crazy guess: for people on satellite internet?

Note that none of this explains why 32GB is the base amount (although perhaps, given the 20GB app limit, perhaps Apple figured the first 10 minutes of the most likely 25 movies to be streamed could be onboard for instant start? or something similar where the device tries to predict usage and have some portion onboard?).

A small bonus question: is the memory solid state?  I assumed it was but, really, don't see why it needs to be given that the device will probably just sit on a shelf.  And I don't think I've seen any confirmation of the storage type.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Watch OS Workout App Idea

For the next iteration of the workout app on Apple Watch, I’d like to see a “trim” feature.  Apple’s workout app, correctly, doesn’t shut off just because a pre-specified time has elapsed.  This makes good sense as a user would hate to lose credit for a workout because she went longer than anticipated.  However, it also means that it is easy to forget to turn off the app and thus can cause the recorded length of a workout to exceed its actual length.

I think it would make sense to be able to “trim” a workout in a manner analogous to trimming a video.  Exercisers would still be kept honest (any activity recorded has to have occurred) but would allow a more accurate reflection of active minutes.  Ideally, the trim feature would have some sort of “activity” or “exertion” graph that makes it easier to judge where to trim back to rather than relying on time as the only metric.

I imagine the workflow is:
  •           In addition to “save workout”, there is a “trim workout” button
  •           After selecting, there is a line with a waveform reflecting intensity (adjusted for the type of workout) with time stamps or ticks
  •           The digital crown would control the cutoff point (highlighting what will be excised)
  •           A simple button to confirm the trim and save or to cancel the trim and return to the save workout screen

An even better trim feature would be to be able to cut a workout into different segments to avoid capturing time spent resting.  But that seems a little harder to do on the watch interface.