Even better text shortcuts

The built in iOS/OS X keyboard shortcuts are pretty useful, allowing you to type something like “omw” and the system will turn it into “On my way!” By accident, I learned a great way to make this feature even more useful  using alternate characters.

If I wanted to create a shortcut for the name of my death metal band, Never-Never Land, I can create a shortcut that turns “ñn” into “Never-Never Land” (To type an alternate letter, you just have to press and hold a letter. This can turn your “n” into and “ñ” and so on).

The real beauty comes from the predictive keyboard features. If I just type “nn” the system will autocorrect the first “n” into an “ñ” and then instantly engage the shortcut and “Never-Never Land” will appear.

A faulty argument against Lightning

I have heard a few people say that the lightning port on the iPhone 5 was a bad strategic decision. The argument can be summarized by quoting David Pouge’s review.

Third, compatibility. The iPhone’s ubiquity has led to a universe of accessories that fit it. Walk into a hotel room, and there’s probably an iPhone connector built into the alarm clock.

If you had to write a term paper for this course, you might open with this argument: that in creating the new iPhone 5 ($200 with contract), Apple strengthened its first two advantages [design and superior components] — but handed its rivals the third one on a silver platter.

The problem with this argument is that if people were really so upset and went to the competition, they would still not be able to dock their phones in hotel rooms. They would still have to get adapters for their cars and sound systems.

Don’t get me wrong, not being able to plug my phone into my current car audio system is going to be a pain in my butt. I am not happy about that. It just isn’t a reason to choose a different phone.

How were my predictions?

I only scored 2 points this time. Here is the recap:

  • I said that Zach and Rene had most things pegged. They did. +1
  • No NFC +1
  • No iPad Mini +1
  • iPod touch +1
  • Old Model touch <$200 -1 (They just kept the $200 model at the same price and the new one becomes a premium choice.)
  • No “pipeline” comment -1
  • I got the “spirit” of the camera right, but it didn’t get 10 MP. +0
  • And the Front facing camera did get 720p. (Hooray!) +1
  • No iPhone 5 specific software feature. -1

This last point is the only thing that disappoints me about the iPhone 5. Don’t get me wrong, I am not disappointed by the phone. I am disappointed that I didn’t get a surprise at the announcement. Petty, I know. I am quite happy that my wife and friends on the 4S get to have all of the software features that iPhone 5 users will get.

Also, no luck on my bonus prediction. I thought AirPlay direct might be one of the ways they helped calm users disgruntled by the new port. Hopefully someday.

Hesitantly Predicting

With the iPhone announcement tomorrow, I feel I have to make some predictions. Trouble is, there have been so many leaks that it is almost certain what we are going to see from the iPhone.

Zach Epstein at BGR gives a great rundown of what to expect from the iPhone, and iMore’s Rene Ritchie’s description of the event is spot on. This leaves me precious little to predict. Nevertheless, I like to take a stab at these things, so I will venture a few:

  1. NFC will be a no-show. This goes against my earlier prediction, but the best sources are saying no.
  2. Unlike last year, this will not be the only fall event. There is too much coming for them to do it all in one shot. So I predict there will be no iPad mini at this event. Because we will see is a taller screen and a smaller dock connector on the iPhone, I predict they will announce a matching iPod touch. They will also send an old model iPod touch to a sub $200 price.
  3. I predict a line from Tim Cook at the end of the event that is something like “we are so excited about what is in the pipeline, and we can’t to talk to you more about it.” This is the signal that there will be another event, probably in October to announce the iPad mini.
  4. I don’t know what the specs will be, but I predict something like 10 MP rear camera. Just a nominal spec bump. I am going to guess a front facing camera with 720p video capture potential (just because I hope for it).
  5.  There is some software feature that will work with some new hardware piece that will surprise people. With the 3GS it was voice control. With the 4 it was FaceTime. With the 4S it was Siri. I don’t know what it will be, but it will make a great demo.

Bonus Prediction: The Telegraph ran an interesting story a while back about a feature potentially named “AirPlay Direct.” The speculated feature would allow an iOS device to send an AirPlay signal to a Wi-Fi enabled device without the need of a shared Wi-Fi network. This is the sort of feature that Apple would make hardware specific, even though the cynical would say it needn’t be. It sounds right to me, but I don’t know if it is coming yet.

Companies worth $1 trillion are suing others over Android’s alleged patent infringement

Foss Patents:

Android continues to be an IP infringement lawsuit magnet not just with respect to troll lawsuits (the trolls sue everyone including Apple) but, more importantly, lawsuits from large publicly-traded industry players.

Google’s usual experimental, bold, and haphazard approach to development usually does them a great deal of good. In the case of Android, their care free attitude may be its undoing. They don’t make a ton of money off of Android, and the legal costs are stacking up and could get even worse if/when they start losing.

(via Phillip Elmer-Dewitt)

Some quick predictions

Last year, when Apple announced iOS 5, Reminders was a new, included app. Everyone thought it was weird. There were already thousands of To Do apps in the app store, and while it brought location based reminders, it wasn’t particularly full featured. You couldn’t even sort reminders. It seemed very out of place.

Then they announced Siri.

Suddenly, reminders turned into a very helpful part of Siri. And Siri, as an interface, made much more sense for reminders, especially when it comes to adding location based reminders.

I felt that same out of place feeling about the Pass Book announcement. “All you pass in one place”? How many passes do they think I have? Scott Forstall already said they are making a Pass Kit API available for developers so they can add their own beautiful passes to the passbook, which is cool, but still seems to be missing something.

I predict that the next iPhone will have a new headline feature, which, like Siri did for Reminders, will make this app make sense: NFC enabled payments. I think Pass Book is going to be a mobile wallet, and the next iPhone will have allow you manage transactions. I think they will allow vendors (like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, JC Penny, or Home Depot) to create accounts that run through Apple’s ecosystem that allow customer so use their pass book to pay for their stuff. And I bet vendors and customers will love it.

One other small prediction: the next iPhone will get a bigger screen.

Others have guessed this change, but a moment of the keynote stood out to me. When Scott Forstall is talking about new Safari features (90:18), he says:

We’re also adding full-screen supports in landscape on the iPhone to take full advantage of the large retina display.

That word LARGE really stood out to me. I think it was a slip of the tongue. I could be reading into it, but I don’t see 1) why this feature is necessary in Safari with out a bigger phone and 2) why he would say that it is a “large” retina display, when iPhones today have the same size display that they have since 2007.

How were my predictions?

Tim Cook did MC +1 point
More video clips +1
More SVP time -1
Incredible numbers +1
The “one video” was the Grand Central Apple store +1
No talk of iBooks -1
iPad 3 it was not -1
Theme was “Post PC Revolution, not “high definition,” even though it did come up a lot -1
Retina, DPI +2
Front facing 720 Camera -1
Visual software from Apple (iPhoto) and Autodesk (Sketchbook) +1
I said

It will have the A6 chip “to power the amazing graphics” which will not be quad core.

So I was wrong about the name, right about the marketing message, and half right about the architecture. The processor itself is not quad-core, but the graphics processor is quad-core. So 0 Points.
Better back camera +1
No Accessory -1
1080p Apple TV +1
iCloud improvements like movies in iCloud +1

Rachael’s prediction, which I said was wrong actually came in the form of photo “beaming” between iOS devices in iPhoto, so +1 for Rachael, -1 for me.

So I get a total of 5 points. Unless you count the that I omitted mentioning 4G LTE. I should have guessed that. Not sure how good of a score it is, but I am glad to be in positive territory.