Feb 13 2012

iOS Missing Feature: Multiple Device App Management

I have over 100 iOS apps in three different devices, an iPod running running iOS 4.2, and an iPhone and iPad on iOS 5. As much as possible, I always sync all devices to my laptop so that they all have the latest updates. I know that since iOS 5, apps and songs purchased from iTunes on one device will automatically sync to other devices. That said I still find that I have sync for other reasons, to transfer photos to iPhoto and sync a large number of podcasts I listen to. And perhaps, most importantly, I’ve sync to charge my device. One issue, definitely first world problem, I have with having multiple iOS devices is managing all the apps in the different devices. If I delete on app from the iPad, it doesn’t delete it from the iPhone. If I delete it from the iTunes on my laptop and I sync with a device that contains that app, it will copy it back to iTunes.

Another big issue is that you have to configure your app pages and folders on each device. If you spend an hour organizing your apps into folders and pages in one device you have to re-do it all over again on the second device. What ends up happening is that you’ll have two devices with the same apps in different pages and folders.

What I am missing from my mobile experience is the ability to sync, not only the apps and content of apps, but the meta-data about how I organize apps between iOS devices. I want to have the choice to clone how one iOS device organizes and layouts the apps to other devices. I would also like the ability to have different app layout settings, such as have the iOS device automatically put applications into folders based on the app category or my usage of the app. And of course, I would like to have a way to delete an app from one device and have it disappear from all other devices.

Jan 23 2012

The Mobile App User Half Life

Recently at a iOS development meet up the presenters from Qubop showed a powerful slide from their presentation that quantified the mobile app user life cycle. It is estimated that on average after one day of usage, 38% of the users will stop using a mobile application. After a week, the percent of users that will still use the app drops to 50%. After 6 months, you are down to 10% of users still using your app in some capacity.

Because of the half life of mobile application users, app developers are constantly updating their mobile apps. It depends on the number of apps you have on your phone, but if I don’t get the latest apps in a weeks period I would have 15 app updates waiting for me. I update one day and the next day there is another app ready to update. Because apps are updated so often, and they require the users permission to do so, mobile app users have are developing app update fatigue.

Dec 19 2011

Reclaim Disk Space With Spacie

Recently I noticed that I had less than 3GB of free disk pace on my laptop. I have and take a lot of photos, in addition to that I download and install a lot of different development tools and IDEs. I also have a lot of music and listen to a lot of podcasts. In addition to all this, I am a digital hoarder and download and save any PDF or image that I find interesting.

When I discovered that I was running out of disk space I immediately started to look for “disk space” apps on the App Store. I found Spacie to be what the HD DR ordered. With Spacie I found that I had multiple version of NetBeans each taking close to 1GB. I had multiple versions of the Android SDK each taking close to 1GB. Spotify was caching over 2GB of data. I found that iPhoto and iTunes was taking the bulk of the space. I easily had 20GB in iPhoto and 40GB in iTunes. In iPhoto, I started to export and backup photo sets older than a year or two so that I could reclaim more space. In iTunes, I found that I had a hundreds of podcasts taking over 100MB each. I pushed these photo sets and podcasts to an external hard drive and reclaimed over 40GB of disk space. Spacie helped me to identify what files where taking the most space and I systematically addressed each folder as best I could.


Spacie finds large files in your hard drive and helps reclaim disk space.

Spacie is available on the Apple App Store. It is currently priced at $1.99 and it’s well worth it since it saved me from having to upgrade to a new hard drive.

Feb 8 2011

My Favorite Feature on iOS Devices: Email Share

My Favorite feature on iOS devices is the ability of sharing data, images, files, notes via email that’s built into many apps. I have a specific email account that I email myself tweets from Twitterrific, images from the Photos, links from Safari, sketches from SketchBook, etc. I treat this email account as my to do task manager, at any point in time I have a few emails waiting for me for to research, look into, read later, or do. Email is the best way for me to share data between all my electronic devices, between work desktop, personal laptop, iPhone, and iPad. The email share feature is built into many iOS applications so i don’t need anything else other than a dedicated email account. I have accounts with services such as box.net and Evernote but these services are not built in into every application I use, email share feature is.

Twitterrific Share Tweet via Email

Twitterrific Share Tweet via Email

Nov 7 2010

iPhone App Ransom Font

The Apple App Store has been proven successful in just about every metric, in the number of available apps, the number of apps downloaded, and the large number of developers flocking to the platform. One iPhone feature that does not get a lot of attention is the how apps are laid out in a series of pages. To visually distinguish apps, each app can use a custom 32×32 pixel image as an icon. The application’s icon image is used in the Apple App Store as a visual shortcut or descriptor for the application. The icon is an integral part of the application’s branding. A visually stunning icon will lead to more downloads and more sales. I feel that the iPhone apps’ logos have developed a new app iconography, a new language based on icons much like the how symbols are used in freeway signs to denote roadside services.

App Ransom Font

App Ransom Font

A large number of iPhone apps use the first letter of the name of their product or service in the app icon, for example Facebook uses a stylized lowercase F and WordPress uses a W in a circle. Some brands have done a great job integrating their brand into their mobile app’s logo, for example my favorites include American Airlines, Dictionary.com, Hulu, Kayak, Skype, etc. There are so many brands that follow this pattern of using the first letter of their product or service’s name that I noticed I could develop a logo-based App Ransom Font.

I didn’t actually create a iPhone inspired ransom font but I’m sure you can use iPhone app icons if you ever need to create a web 2.0 inspired ransom note.

Please note that I am missing an app whose icon has the following letters: L, X