Microsoft isn’t more evil than Google or Apple

UWP first step towards “locking down the consumer PC ecosystem,” says Tim Sweeney.

Microsoft and its universal platform goes beyond using your smartphone as your PC. It’s all about the one thing businesses want more than anything: control.

That’s what Apple has accomplished with its App Store, and what Google has accomplished with Google Play. If you want to install an app or a game, you must do that through the official app stores. There are ways to side load applications in both cases, but the methods are not straightforward for not experienced users.

Tim Sweeney, Epic Games cofounder, has critiziced this kind of approach from Microsoft, but I wonder why he doesn’t compare that to what happens with Apple and Google:

With its new Universal Windows Platform (UWP) initiative, Microsoft has built a closed platform-within-a-platform into Windows 10, as the first apparent step towards locking down the consumer PC ecosystem,” said Sweeney. “Microsoft has launched new PC Windows features exclusively in UWP and is effectively telling developers you can use these Windows features only if you submit to the control of our locked-down UWP ecosystem.”

There are obvious disadvantages to that kind of control -lack of competition from other stores, for example- but no one seems to be crying out loud for the same situation on the most used Operating Systems in our planet.

The Universal Windows Platform is far from perfect and that kind of control is not desireable, but the problem has been real in Android and iOS for years now. Maybe users don’t have a problem at all with all their apps and games being distributed through just one platform, and I don’t see developers protest against the Apple Store, which for many is a great way to sell and distribute their products. The same goes for Google Play, of course.

Everyone is evil here, not just Microsoft.

iPad Pro review time: a great product that you shouldn’t buy?

Walt Mossberg on The Verge has written an impressive, sincere and up to the point review. Three problems arises according to that piece: it’s “too big and bulky“, the keyboard case (just one angle, no backlightning, not many shortcuts) is disappointing (“I kept wishing for a trackpad, so I didn’t have to keep reaching for the screen“, something that Lauren Goode, the other reviewer, also misses there), and few apps take advantage of the greater screen state.

The Apple Pencil is great but not perfect either according to Mossberg, who points out the fact that “there’s no place to store it, or even to magnetically attach it when it’s not in use

ipadpro3

Those reviewers agree on one thing: the hardware is there, the software not so much. That’s important: the apps are not ready for the iPad Pro. I guess they will be at some point, but that could be a problem for early users. The new dual-window mode seems nice but it’s not a real replacement for multi-window management on a desktop OS. Andrew Cunningham at Ars Technica goes deeper on this and explains how many apps don’t render well on the new screen resolution, and reveals that “iOS 9’s multitasking still needs a lot of work“. The conclusions about the software are pretty evident:

There’s no exposed filesystem, no easy official way to install apps from outside the App Store, no iOS version of Xcode for developers. Connecting external accessories (cameras or SD cards, mics or audio interfaces) requires dongles and adapters and, occasionally, external power supplies. There’s no true multi-display support to speak of.

Cunningham goes further and tells us he feels the iPad Pro is a “sometimes computer“, which is probably a good definition of a product that wants precisely to be that. And although that could be enough for some people -artists and designers, for example-, I read the reviews and I can’t help but thinking about what a great product this seems and how no one reviewer really recommends it.

By the way, take a look at TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino review: he gives a different perspective, one in which he understands that Apple is just exploring the future with this device, as the company did with the MacBook previously this year. I’d say the former is the future for tablets, and the latter, the future for laptops. Fortunately, we’ll have many things in between.

 

Nexus 5X & 6P reviews coming: worthy successors with surprising cameras

Reviews on the new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are coming. Ars Technica (both in one review, interesting but please, Ars, pagination in 2015? Really?) Engadget (5X, 6P) and TechCrunch (5X, 6P), are amongst the first ones to publish them, but we’ve got also first (I’d say ‘second’) impressions from Wired.

According to Ars, “all other Android devices are second class citizens“. I think this is an overstatement, because the later admit that there is no quick charging or wireless charging support, and the cameras are not comparable but the cameras seem even better tan their rivals’ and they are no longer the typical limited Nexus cameras.

I don’t like the fingerprint position, and as I told previously, Google should use this phones to show what Android 6.0 (and future versions for that matter) can do. That, by the way, is clearly the big pro of both smartphones.

The devices have nice prices in the US. That’s not the case in Spain and the euro zone, where the Nexus 5X ($379) will have a price of 479 euro. The same happens with the Nexus 6P ($499 != 649 euro) .

Not bad phones, but not specially good on the features/price ratio.

OS X El Capitan doesn’t deserve this long review. It’s not worthy.

Apple brings refinement and under-the-hood changes to Yosemite’s new design.

Ars Technica has been publishing the best, more detailed and more complete reviews of OS X since its first version 14 years ago. John Siracusa became a legend in this scenario, and he decided to stop reviewing it last April:

There is no single, dramatic reason behind this. It’s an accumulation of small things—the time investment, the (admittedly, self-imposed) mental anguish, the pressure to meet my own expectations and those of my readers year after year—but it all boils down to a simple, pervasive feeling that this is the time to stop. I’ve done this. It is done.

I’d say there is more than that. I’d say that Siracusa was just tired of reviewing new versions with so little to review. OS X El Capitan is a good example of that, but even realizing that reality, Ars Technica has again published a pretty long review that shouldn’t have been that long. The conclusions make this clear:

After Apple’s WWDC keynote, a friend texted me to tell me she couldn’t figure out what was supposed to be so great about El Capitan. It’s an understandable question to ask, especially after Yosemite’s big, immediately obvious changes (and an admittedly grandiose new name).

And the reason is simple. There’s not much to talk about, and Apple doesn’t deserve that kind of review when the changes to OS X have been stingy in the last few years. OS X 10.11 isn’t worthy of this.

Now go and read it. It’s not a bad review at all.

Source: OS X 10.11 El Capitan: The Ars Technica Review

If you want an iPad Mini 4, just buy an iPad Air (2).

Extra RAM and a better color gamut help make up for year-old guts.

There’s nothing new from Apple on the iPad mini 4. It is a last year device at this year’s prices. They did the exact same thing with the iPhone 5C. It’s still better than the shameful iPad mini 3, but either way, I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone.

But as nice as the upgrade is, there’s nothing here that wasn’t available for use a year ago. TouchID was already available. The A8 was already available. Apple obviously already knew that it was planning better multitasking for iOS 9, and it could have preemptively increased the amount of memory in the Mini to compensate.

If you want an iOS tablet, just get the iPad Air 2 (or for $100 less, the original iPad Air).

Source: iPad Mini 4 review: A lighter, faster tablet with a better screen | Ars Technica

iOS 9 seems like a worthy upgrade, especially on the iPads

Apple gives the iPad a lot of love as iOS goes back into spit-and-polish mode.

Today users will be able to upgrade to the final version of iOS 9. There are no big announcements here, but it doesn’t matter because there are  several little enhancements overall.

I’ve not tested it, but if you want to get a good review of the system, you should read Ars Technica review -reminds me of those legendary OS X reviews by John Siracusa- .

Better visual keyboard, better battery life, less space consumption, proactive siri, searchable settings and of course, the new multitasking features that allow the dual window modes shine on the (newer) iPads. Oh, and that content blocking thing.

If you want to know what’s in there in detail, head to the review and grab a couple (or 3,4…) of cups of coffee. There’s a IReallyDontHaveTheTimeForThat version of that review in the WSJ which isn’t bad at all.

Or you can just install it and enjoy it.

Source: iOS 9, thoroughly reviewed | Ars Technica