Blog logoMatthew Lang

Apple

A 17 post collection


Features I would love to see in Safari iOS

 •  Filed under Posts, Apple, iOS

I've been using an iPad Pro as a web development device for a few months now. Overall I've been surprised at the ability of the device to handle this type of work. Apps like Working Copy, Textastic and GoCoEdit have certainly helped as has the split view on iOS and more recently the ability to drag and drop between apps.

One drawback amongst all this though is the browser I use. Safari has been my browser of choice for iOS for a long time. I've had brief dealings with Google Chrome and Firefox, but they've never lasted in terms of use. I keep coming back to Safari.

As browser's go, there's little to fault about Safari on all the devices it supports. It works well on my iPhone and the smaller iPads I've used over the years. With the iPad Pro though, it feels that Safari is short-changing me.

Pinned tabs

Right okay. Pinned tabs aren't on everybody's list of priority features for a browser but I've been using them for so long on other browsers it seems that they've been around forever. That's not true in the case of Safari for macOS though. Pinned tabs have only been around for a couple of years with Safari which seems like a very short amount of time given that they have been available in other browsers for years.

So why pinned tabs on Safari for iOS?

Well, largely it's an organisational thing. There's a number of tabs that I keep open through the day and pinning these tabs in the browser allows me to quickly jump to them through the day.

Given the screen space on the iPad Pro models and even on the iPad Mini models, I'm surprised that the pinning of tabs hasn't already been done.

Web inspector

I was surprised to find that the Web Inspector on Safari for iOS is only available when you connect your iPad to another Apple computer.

Screenshot of Safari Web Inspecter preferences

Now while a web inspector is probably a big ask on a device that probably wasn't intended to be a web development device, I think it's a fair request. People are turning to the iPad Pro and looking for a device that replaces their laptop or even their desktop. The inability to run the Web Inspector without connecting the iPad Pro to a MacBook or iMac doesn't exactly

However, while you might not be able to use the Web Inspector for Safari iOS without connecting to another Mac, there is an app called Web Tools that replicates this need feature rather nicely.

Support for pinned extensions

I toyed with the idea of calling these starred extensions but pinned extensions might be a better idea, but first I have to explain what this is.

At the top right of the Safari app on the iPad is the share button. This button allows you to share the current URL with a number of other apps on your iPad or iPhone. I use it a number of times every day, mostly for sharing links to my Instapaper, Pinboard and Bear apps. I also use it quite a lot for opening 1Password. The share button on the iPad Pro is a quick and convenient way for me to share a link. It's also one more press on the screen than I care to do.

If you take a look at the Safari interface on my iPad Pro, you'll notice that there is some whitespace on either side of the address bar. What if this space could be utilised in a better way rather than just leaving it blank. What if (and only if your screen size can support it) you could pin a couple of your favourite share extensions to the Safari toolbar?

By pinning your share extensions to either the left or right of the address bar, you're putting your share extensions in a more convenient place.

There are obvious restrictions to this like screen size and even the orientation of the device which governs how much space you have, but surely the developers at Apple could make this happen?

The expectations of a Pro device

When you name your device as 'Pro' there is a certain level of expectation of it. I must admit I eye-rolled when I first heard that the new iPad would be called an iPad Pro, but as I heard more about it and watched the first couple of iterations of the device, I could see where Apple was going with this.

To support this new family of devices I think that there needs to another level up of apps that are targeted at the Pro line of devices only or at least variations of the apps that support Pro features.

These apps might be specialised and target a specific market of people, but given that the iPad Pro is already being seen as a viable option to a laptop and even a desktop, I think it's important for Apple to offer that extra bit of functionality that users may look for in an app.

These features that I'm looking for in Safari for iOS might not be a priority for the Safari team or even on the list of new features for Safari, but I'm sure that if Apple is looking to push the iPad Pro device to more professionals then there should be some distinction between the normal apps for iOS and those for Pro devices.

iPad Pro for software development?

 •  Filed under Apple, Links

Apple's App Store Guidelines now allow executable code in educational apps and developer tools.

Might not be a deal breaker for many, but I've longed to replace my raging MacBook Pro with a combo of an iMac and an iPad Pro. With the recent updates to the iMac line I can finally purchase one with updated specs, but the news at WWDC didn't make me think that I was going to see better development tools on an iPad Pro anytime soon.

The new guidelines in the App Store though mean that better software development tools for the iPad might be just around the corner.

WWDC17

 •  Filed under Links, Apple

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off today.

I wouldn't call myself a fan-boy but I definitely have a preference for Apple products. I am interested in seeing the release of a new iPad Pro. Sadly I don't think there's going to be any new iMacs released.

Expect an explosion of Apple related news and tweets later on today.

New iMacs on the way

 •  Filed under Posts, Apple, Technology, Freelance

Great to hear that new iMacs are on the way.

Regarding iMacs, Schiller also said that new iMacs are in the works, slated for release some time this year (no specifics other than “this year”), including “configurations of iMac specifically with the pro customer in mind and acknowledging that our most popular desktop with pros is an iMac.”

The Mac Pro Lives by John Gruber

I've been looking to replace my MacBook Pro for a while now. I do most of my work at home and it's rare that I do serious development during a client visit. While the MacBook Pro made sense at the start of my freelance career, I think an iMac would be better for myself.

The question of what to do on client visits though remains. Should I still keep the MacBook Pro for client visits? Unless I'm called on to write code during that visit (I never am) then I think it's safe to say that I can relegate the MacBook Pro to another younger member of the family who can use it for school work more effectively than I would use it as a second development machine.

I'm still debating the purchase of an iPad Pro to act as a portable device. I would use this more for admin, marketing and writing and planning tasks. Anything that isn't writing code essentially.

I'll get the desktop hardware sorted first before I go down this road though.

The MacBook Pro - Great for Hackers

 •  Filed under Links, Apple, Technology

It struck me odd how so many people took to the Internet announcing their disgust that the new MacBook Pro isn't made for developers. One particular blog post stood out amongst the rest as just being laughable. The glaring fact is that no-one had used it yet and were basing their opinions on a suggested outcome.

Glad to see that Adam Geitgey reserved his opinions until after he used it.

I’m not here to change your mind about the MacBook Pro. Yes, it’s probably too expensive and more RAM is better than less RAM. But everyone posting complaints without actually using a MBP for a few weeks is missing out on all the clever things you can do because it is built on USB-C. Over the past week or two with a new MacBook Pro (15in, 2.9ghz, TouchBar), I’ve been constantly surprised with how USB-C makes new things possible. It’s a kind of a hacker’s dream.

The new MacBook Pro is kind of great for hackers by Adam Geitgey