On iPhone 7/MacBook Pro Compatibility 

I’ve been thinking about how neither the iPhone 7 nor its accompanying headphones can connect to the new MacBook Pro without an adapter. My conclusions are as follows:

  1. Apple wants you to use iCloud and to buy iCloud storage. I’ll come back to this in a moment.

  2. Apple doesn’t really intend for Lightning headphones to be a thing. They included Lightning EarPods in the iPhone 7 box as well as an adapter in order to appease consumers. They assume you either 1) already have some 3.5mm headphones you like or 2) will embrace wireless headphones. So why put a Lightning port in the new MacBooks?

  3. Apple doesn’t want you to charge your devices by connecting them to your computer. I think the 12″ MacBook introduced that idea. Apple wants everyone to charge their stuff via power outlet, probably overnight. I realize the batteries probably don’t last long enough for that to be practical for most people, but there it is.

  4. Apple doesn’t want you to backup your devices using your computer either. They want you to buy iCloud storage, as stated above, and use iCloud backups.

That leaves developers as the only ones who would need to connect their iPhones to their MacBooks, and Apple has no problem selling an extra $25 cord to developers.

So really, putting a Lightning port in the new MacBook Pro makes absolutely no sense, and neither does including a Lightning to Thunderbolt 3 cable.

Viva la (r)evolución

Much to laptop-lovers’ delight, Apple announced three new MacBook Pros yesterday: a 13″ model with a traditional row of function keys and two models, 13″ and 15″, with a “revolutionary Touch Bar.” Now, I don’t have the patience to scrub through the video of the event to see if Phil actually called it revolutionary. And actually, it doesn’t matter because the word is all over their marketing copy.

Apple ad for new MacBook Pro on Facebook

An ad on Facebook for Apple’s new MacBook Pro models.

I agree that the Touch Bar is revolutionary. It’s a dramatic change to what we’re used to. As many have noted, however, the new Touch Bar is also evolutionary: one more change in a long series of tweaks that Apple’s made to the lower half of the clamshell over the past several years. Jony Ive himself told CNET that this was “the beginning of a very interesting direction.”

As I sat mulling over which model and configuration I wanted to buy, I felt slightly uneasy knowing that the Touch Bar was only the first step towards some grand, yet-to-be-realized Jony Ivian vision. How long would I have to wait for him to complete his masterpiece? One year? Two? How about five? The answer, of course, is that it will never be complete. Technology evolves too quickly for anything to remain extremely cool and intensely desirable for more than a year. Design sensibilities fluctuate, new materials are synthesized, and new interaction models are imagined at an incredible rate. In the end, what’s important is that I have a good, functional, reliable tool for doing what I need to do right now.

So, I’ve decided to just embrace the evolution. I will have to buy a hub, as I am a frequent user of the SD card slot and regular USB ports. I’m looking forward to using the new Touch Bar and seeing what developers do with it.

I’ve also decided to move down to a 13″ display. In doing so, I’m going from a computer that weighs 5.6lbs to one that weighs 3lbs, which should feel amazing (and also fit comfortably in my giant diaper bag if necessary!).

“But won’t it suck to have less screen real estate?” my mind asks as I type this entire blog post on my 4.7″ phone display. Sure, Xcode will be a little cramped, but I’ll just have to learn to actually hide various panes when I’m not using them. Full screen will be my friend. And if I decide to get a 5K monitor someday, my little 13″ buddy can handle it.

I saw a lot of snark and negativity on Twitter yesterday, some of which was probably warranted. Regardless, I would encourage Apple lovers to try to separate your desire to see Apple be its best self (and be the perfect, pure source of your futuristic dream devices) from your actual, realistic day-to-day technology needs. If what Apple offers meets your current needs, be glad, and by all means continue to encourage Apple to excel still more. If it doesn’t, then maybe sit back and carefully (prayerfully?) consider switching to something else.

Life is way too short to be grumpy about tech all the time. Embrace the evolution!

Fall Corgi Sticker Pack Update

Sploot the Corgi Fall Promo art

Yesterday Apple approved an update to my Sploot the Corgi sticker pack that includes 5 fun new autumn-themed stickers!

New fall stickers!

Nearly all the stickers in Sploot the Corgi started out with hand-drawn doodles like this:

I then took pictures of my drawings and traced them with the pen tool using Affinity Designer.

I’m planning to add more new stickers (both winter-themed and general-purpose) in the coming months. I’m also considering increasing the price to $1.99 when I hit a certain number of stickers, so grab it early!

Sploot the Corgi Stickers!

I made a sticker pack!

It features a corgi named Sploot (a “sploot” is a common corgi position where both hind legs are splayed out, as illustrated by this helpful Buzzfeed article). There are currently a dozen stickers in the pack and I plan to add more throughout the year.

Sploot the Corgi

I want to talk a little bit about Sploot’s launch.

At some point last Monday night, the iMessage App Store unexpectedly went live and sticker packs became available for purchase for anyone running the iOS 10 beta. I rushed to the store and checked all the featured lists and…nada. Apparently Sploot, like many other apps, was still “Pending an Apple Release.” I admit, I was bummed not to be featured (doesn’t everyone love corgis?!). Looking through those lists, it seems I would have had better luck creating something that was purposefully bad (see: failmoji) than attempting to create something good and falling short of the mark.

Anyway, when my stickers were finally ready for sale the next day, I sent out a couple tweets about them. Meanwhile, other sticker packs were getting featured in round-ups on all my favorite Apple sites. My mistake? Not inviting bloggers to beta-test my sticker pack. Sure, they might not have listed it anyway, but it would have been worth a try! I’ve often talked about how important promotion is; apparently, I can’t take my own advice.

My next mistake became obvious to me as I was spamming my husband and best friend with stickers: my stickers were too big. I mistakenly thought that everyone would use the maximum sticker size of 206×206 points. However, it looks like most stickers are around 130×130 points. So, I resized mine and submitted an update (which was approved yesterday). I also changed the name of the pack from “Sploot” to “Sploot the Corgi” and switched it from the “Emoji & Expressions” category to “Animals and Nature.” I’m hoping these changes will make it easier to find.

In the last week I sold about 80 sticker packs—which is fine, but I was definitely hoping for better!

I think the best thing I can do now is to get working on an update with some seasonal stickers and continue hoping for a feature. And hey, if you’re in need of some cute corgi stickers, you can download Sploot the Corgi from the App Store!

Submitting Stickers Through iTunes Connect

As I sat down to submit my corgi-themed sticker pack last night, I realized I actually had no clue what to do. Apple’s instructions for submitting standalone sticker packs are actually spread across two separate guides (iMessage App Submissions | Sticker Submissions) which added to my confusion.

So, in case you’re as confused as I was, here’s some answers to questions you may have.

What size screenshots do I need to prepare?

You need to prepare two sizes: iPhone 6s Plus (or any of the 5.5″ devices) and 12.9″ iPad Pro.

Where do I upload the screenshots?

You need to add them in two places: at the top of the iTunes Connect record under “App Preview and Screenshots” and farther down under “iMessage App.”

Do I need to add a 1024×1024 square app icon even though Apple doesn’t list it in its Human Interface Guidelines or icon template?

Apparently. There’s a paragraph at the bottom of the iMessage App Submission guide that makes me think it might be possible to view sticker apps on the iOS App Store if you’re not running iOS 10:

if users are on an operating system lower than iOS 10, the link will open the product page on the App Store for iPhone and iPad, and users can download your app from there.

Of course, that might just apply to full iOS apps that include sticker extensions. Who knows? If you’re using the Photoshop template provided by Apple, double click on the “icon” layer under the 58×58 size. It will open as a 1536×1536  square version…you can size that down to 1024×1024 and hit “Save As” (so you won’t mess with the template) to easily fulfill this requirement.

What should I include in the screenshots?

I was a little unsure about this, but decided to go with one shot of my sticker pack in expanded view, and one shot of a sample conversation using my stickers. I took all of my screenshots in the Simulator because I don’t have test devices. I used Photoshop to add profile pictures for my message participants using royalty-free stock photos from Pexels.

What category should I put my sticker pack in?

Why, the Stickers category, of course! From there, you can choose a subcategory or two.

Can I use “stickers” and “iMessage” in my keywords?

Yep! There are some caveats though, as described in the iMessage App Submission guide.