The OMPodcast Transcript

 

Season 1, Episode 30: Resolution Revolution

Published: 28 October 2014

Panel:

  • Pete Talbot (Outware, Visual Design Lead)
  • Keith Smyth (Outware, Android Team Lead)
  • Danny Gorog (Outware, Director/Co-founder)
  • Marc Edwards (Bjango, Director and Lead Designer)

 

Transcript

Peter Talbot:  
Welcome to the OMpodcast. Today we’re talking about a revolution and it will not be televised. However, it will be simply syndicated through iTunes. Keith, if I could ask you to please take off that Parisian military tunic and put the red flag down because it’s not that …

Keith Smyth:       
Viva la revolution!

Peter Talbot:     
It’s not that type of revolution.

Keith Smyth:       
No? Oh!

Peter Talbot:  
Today we’re talking about a resolution revolution – that’s a mouthful. Specifically how the introduction of the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus a few weeks ago changed the face of the mobile software development industry as we know it. To help us we’re joined with Danny Gorog, one of the founders and directors at Outware Mobile.

Danny Gorog:           
Hello.

Peter Talbot:           
Good day Danny. We’ve got Keith Smyth, who you’ve already heard, he is the lead android developer at Outware.

Keith Smyth:    
Yep, also a Nexus 6 shout out.

Peter Talbot:     
Just had to get that one in there.

Keith Smyth:   
It’s bigger.

Peter Talbot:     
And a very special guest, UI master craftsman, lead UI designer and director at Bjango, Marc Edwards. Welcome Marc.

Marc Edwards:          
Pleasure to be here.

Keith Smyth:          
How come my title is not that long? Can I change it?

Peter Talbot:         
Because I think Marc is just better than you.

Keith Smyth:         
Yeah. Well, okay.

Peter Talbot:          
It’s a real pleasure to have you here Marc. Marc is responsible for many great apps. One of the apps that the design team could not manage without and we use on a daily basis, and I’d like to personally thank you for now is: Skala Preview, great job.

Marc Edwards:         
Thank you.

Peter Talbot:            
Thank you. For those of you who don’t know, it allows designers to preview their designs on devices in almost real-time, sometimes real-time.

Marc Edwards:            
Depending on your Wi-Fi network.

Peter Talbot:        
We use it all the time in the iPhone, the iPad, the Nexus 5, potentially Nexus 6, and even when we’re designing the AFL app for Pebble, we even have a little mockup on the iPhone and when you double the resolution it’s a really good way to preview Pebble designs. It’s very, very cool.

Keith Smyth:          
Secret feature.

Marc Edwards:            
I’ve definitely used an iPad to preview things that were smaller, that were bigger than life and like you do in Android development there. An iPad can be a good way for previewing that.

Peter Talbot:            
It’s very cool. Just on a personal note, one of my favourite apps that is no longer alive but I have always loved, is Consume. I still have it.

Marc Edwards:            
Very, very sad story. It’s probably slowly breaking – every day something will not work on it.

Peter Talbot:            
It’s pretty good. There are a few things that have died but I can still check my Myki on it, which is really cool.

Marc Edwards:            
Awesome.

Peter Talbot:            
Yes, I love that. Yes, we’re talking about resolution revolution.

Danny Gorog:            
Well, put your hand up if you’ve ordered an iMac 5K.

Peter Talbot:            
Well, no.

Danny Gorog:            
Well I have.

Peter Talbot:            
Oh!

Danny Gorog:            
I just couldn’t not. I just could not not.

Peter Talbot:            
Where is it going to live?

Danny Gorog:            
You see Groover had an article. He was like he saw it and he ordered it in a second. I’m like, “Oh God, if he’s just … if it was that quick for him, then boom I’m doing it.”

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, but here is the thing, I mean I’m on with you and we’ve ordered one for testing but we’re probably going to … whatever, but if Apple releases retina cinema displays …

Danny Gorog:          
Apparently that won’t work with the current Mac Pro. Have you got a new Mac Pro?

Marc Edwards:        
I do, and I was always hoping, like everyone else who bought a Mac Pro, that there would be new displays and they would work on that Mac Pro.

Danny Gorog:            
Even Marko’s is getting one.

Marc Edwards:           
Yes. I’m being a little bit more cautious but we’ll see what happens. I’m still happy designing on a non-retina display, we can talk about that in a second, so cool.

Peter Talbot:            
Well, I can’t see anything at the moment. A retina and non-retina is fine.

Danny Gorog:            
Oh, it’s good, we can swap displays then Pete.

Peter Talbot:            
Actually, yeah Danny, no. Talking about that, we do mobile development, but Marc has a lot of experience in iOS 10 desktop environment with apps like iStat Pro. What type of impact does a 5K display have on the apps that you guys currently have out there?

Marc Edwards:            
This is a really boring answer, but essentially none. Retina Mac book pros have existed for a long time and it’s the same as mobile dev, you just have to make sure you’ve got the assets and everything else works correctly and we’ve had that for a long time.

Peter Talbot:            
That is good. That’s what we want to hear.

Marc Edwards:            
Essentially, all the software is ready for this new iMac. There is nothing strange that is going to happen. It’s just going to work. The only real question is probably if the GPU can handle that many pixels, if it gets hot or if there is some other weird hardware issue, but in terms of software it’s very straightforward. Everything is already set up for it.

Peter Talbot:            
Okay, so on the mobile front then, I’ve heard you speak about how your workflow hasn’t really changed that much accommodating for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, what have you done on a technical level? This is a pretty techy podcast. First of all, I just wanted to discuss moving forward, say, if you are starting on something brand new or say if you’re dealing with a legacy app, how are you approaching that these days with Auto Layout and Interface Builder and all that sort of stuff? How many changes have you made and what has been the biggest impact to you?

Marc Edwards:            
The thing that really knocked us on our bum was the iPhone 4, when that came out, that was retina; that changed everything. Well, everything we had done prior to that was terrible and we just had to really reassess our workflows and make sure we did everything correctly. Thankfully … it’s always great to have the benefit of hindsight, but thankfully we chose a path where we were kind of basing everything on iOS points. That meant it’s the same as Android density independent pixels. Basically that means we designed what most designers will call 1X, and that means everything from there we scale up … from there to work at all the other varying sizes. It means everything snaps nicely to the grid and everything works pretty much perfectly without needing many changes.

In terms of Auto Layout, I mean obviously there are different systems for handling what is essentially responsive or adaptive layouts. It’s different on Android iOS, pretty much the same on OS 10 as iOS and the web is obviously different. On a technical level, we just approach it with whatever we need but usually we’re not trying to do things that are too crazy. If you try and get a designer layout working in a way that doesn’t require too much of the system, that usually has other benefits anyway.

Peter Talbot:            
I think that’s happening more and more, like we really need to adhere to platform conventions now more than ever, because whatever you can render in code, you better … like whatever assets you don’t have to render.

Danny Gorog:            
You guys were always the kind of bleeding skeuomorphic edge weren’t you? You were the guys who were doing your own everything.

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, so for iOS, I mean there were actually benefits to this too. It depends what you need but for the switches on iOS we ended up making our own switch code which was kind of dumb back in the day. No one was doing it. This was before iOS 5 where UIAppearance was introduced where you could sort of theme things a little bit, and then 6 and 7 made that even better. So we completely themed everything and we did the same thing for out navigation controller. It was so much work just basically so we can make it look the way we wanted, which I don’t know if there was an advantage there or not but it was just something we wanted to do and we thought that was something that kind of made us – us.

The cool thing was we could take it further than iOS 5 when iOS 5 came out, and also lots of that stuff didn’t break because it was just all our code, so it just didn’t … it was one of the stupid engineering things where it’s like “Yes, we’ll just do everything ourselves,” but there were actually other benefits and we still use a lot of that stuff today, surprisingly.

Keith Smyth:            
What’s your overall, when you zoom up to a high level, what’s your view of what iOS looks like today? You like it? You don’t like it? Are you impressed with the direction it’s going?

Marc Edwards:            
I think there was a lot lost in the transition between 6 and 7 and I think there were a lot of things that became worse, like noticeably worse from a user experience point of view, like the date picker. Apple have kind of fixed a lot of stuff with iOS 8. I’m glad that there was a reboot. I think the direction iOS 6 was heading, if you just kind of took that to the extreme, wasn’t probably going to last forever, it wasn’t that great, so I’m glad there was a reset.

Having said that, I think stock iOS 8 is really quite boring, and really not that interesting. It depends how you see it. I can see the advantages in using a lot of the stock UI but I guess we’ve always seen the platforms as just a starting point, so it really doesn’t matter. Apple are just providing some tools, Android, Google are providing some tools, and that’s the just the basis where we launch from. It doesn’t really matter provided we can actually build things ourselves.

Peter Talbot:            
I think it’s kind of interesting as well, like from Marc’s experience and what we do here, and correct me if I’m wrong, but a lot of the apps that you do are really just good tools and utilities, whereas a lot of the stuff we do for our clients, because it’s all client work, is just really sort of big apps that accommodate a lot of needs of different stakeholders and stuff like that.

Marc Edwards:        
Yes, I can definitely understand if you are trying to, firstly, be more mainstream, obviously a lot of our stuff is quite niche. It sort of doesn’t matter if we turn a blind eye to maybe old OS versions or whatever, and obviously, again, we’re coming through a certain point of view where we’re like “Hey, this is a cool thing we want to do.” We’re quite happy to waste three weeks on it, whereas if you’re actually with the client, “This is going to cost you X dollars just to get this fancy switch.” They will be like “Yes, you know what, let’s cut that from the budget because that’s not happening.”

Keith Smyth:            
Let’s put that on the maybe list.

Peter Talbot:            
Let’s talk a bit about how you actually build software. How much planning do you put into the software you release?

Marc Edwards:            
I think we’re really lucky in that we’re now pretty much 10 years old. The team, which is kind of just me and one other guy, we’ve been working together for a long time so we kind of finish each other’s sentences. In that respect it means …

Peter Talbot:            
It’s romantic.

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, it really kind of is. We know how we do things, and that just means in terms of mock ups, we actually do quite a lot of work upfront and we end up with no spec documents or no specs or anything, but we end up with what are essentially pixel perfect mock ups. I know that used to be kind of a cool thing and now it’s sort of not a cool thing. It was like design the browser or whatever … need to be more agile or whatever, but we discuss things as much as possible, as early as possible. It’s not like I sit in a room hiding away and work out my perfect design. It’s more getting engineering feedback right from the very, very start. It really is a discussion of everything, the entire stack, and if there certain technical challenges to doing something we can quickly work on that.

By the time we have mock ups, it’s kind of like, “All right, let’s just build it now.” With our workflow, again, obviously you don’t want to be a waterfall because that means you end up missing some opportunities to make things better. Again, with the design workflow and exporting, we usually re-export full sets of assets, even for like a small app, maybe 20-30 times for a big app. iStat Menus has, I think, about 800 images or something, and we probably exported them … we made design changes and exported the full set maybe, I don’t know, again, 40 plus times throughout the final process before we got to 5.0.

Danny Gorog:            
We do agile development as well but we sort of call it … we talk about app adapted agile, and we’ve always got clients who’ve got budgets and timelines. So it’s really important for us to do all that design work upfront but with the flexibility to make changes as you go down the stream.

Marc Edwards:            
So far it sounds like we have no budget, we just kind of do whatever we want, but obviously we have sales that always declining – always, because that’s just the way it works. You launch, “Hey! Everything is great, let’s go and buy Ferraris,” and then you realise the next day, “Hold on, this isn’t going to last.” Then after that it’s like, “Well actually, our runway is really short and if we don’t hustle, we are dead.” So we don’t have deadlines, but we do have deadlines.

Danny Gorog:            
So the deadline is you’ve you got to keep something new in the market to keep generating those sales.

Marc Edwards:            
The deadline is … yes, if we don’t ship, we get other jobs. That’s the deadline.

Danny Gorog:         
For 10 years, you haven’t had another job, 10 years you’ve just been doing this.

Marc Edwards:         
No, I was freelancing in the ad industry, so I was doing a lot of photo retouching and finished art, art direction, print, TV stuff, and I started a little small company with a friend and that kind of … it went well, we did all right but after a couple of years it was like, “No …” We’d paid all our bills, we didn’t declare bankruptcy or anything but we just decided to kind of wrap it up and then …

Peter Talbot:          
Was than an agency? Like an ad agency?

Marc Edwards:           
Yes, we even made a TV ad, which was good fun.

Peter Talbot:           
Which one?

Marc Edwards:     
It was for Life Saving Victoria. It was about drowning awareness. It was a good project to be involved in and it was lots of fun but, again, very stressful and there were lots of challenges there.

Peter Talbot:       
I imagine you had quite a few clients in that business and shifting from a client agency-service-based thing to a pure software development house with you and another guy, how does that affect you?

Danny Gorog:            
What’s his name by the way?

Marc Edwards:            
My business partner? It’s top secret.

Peter Talbot:            
Your better half. How does that change …

Marc Edwards:            
Sorry, I’m usually at the front of the company so I wouldn’t normally mention names.

Keith Smyth:            
Let’s call him Heisenberg.

Peter Talbot:           
It’s actually Steve Jobs.

Marc Edwards:           
Elvis Presley.

Peter Talbot:           
How does that change your working habits and your workflow and what you produce? I mean obviously you’re doing very different work now but it’s still sort of creative work and it still has an objective and a brief and all the rest of it.

Marc Edwards:          
It’s kind of interesting because you end up becoming the client yourself, and obviously that changes perspective in certain things that you would’ve normally been or me anyway, personally, might be upset with the client for not letting you do. Now it’s kind of you are the one making the decision, not letting yourself do it. If anything, we’ve needed to be a lot better at strategy, a lot better at making the right decisions rather than just being good at building stuff.

That was probably a little bit of a shock. I didn’t understand how important that was. You can’t sort of just live on your own island and make your own stuff and be happy and walk around bare feet and be hippy, you actually do need to be really, really good at it.

Peter Talbot:            
Is that an internal battle that you have? Is that the designer part of you and then the business owner of you that is sort of like, “No, you can’t indulge in these things?”

Marc Edwards:           
No, not really. I don’t know why but we’ve been usually fairly conservative with our design. I know we’re talking about using ridiculous engineering efforts to remake Apple’s components previously, but we really don’t do anything too crazy in terms of interaction. I don’t know why we do it. I guess we just generally want to make stuff work well, rather than trying to be experimental. It actually hasn’t been too much of a battle because I think we’ve been pretty well aligned with what people like using.

Danny Gorog:            
You are the design part of the business, how deep … do you get into the code at all?

Marc Edwards:            
Yes. I guess I’ve tried to be a better person myself, and there are lots of benefits in just being able to … even if you’re really new to all this stuff and your background is design, there’s a lot of benefit in just being able to fire up Xcode and build to a device. Then beyond that, you can look at some of the values that might be, like whatever it is, hash to find the constants. You realise you can start tweaking stuff and then you don’t need to be a developer any more, you can have a GitHub account and then you can submit changes after changing colours. Then you start changing timing.

I’ve got a little bit of background in writing code but not that much, certainly not to the level of being able to build anything useful. But especially now, I really get into it, I think it’s …

Peter Talbot:            
Would you recommend for UI designers like me and Andy and Jinju that we dive into Xcode and start tweaking that? Do you think it’s a necessary part of the job?

Marc Edwards:            
I don’t know if it’s necessary because obviously there’s a really wide spectrum on what a UI designer can and should do, but something like Framer might be really useful – just being able to build prototypes. For those who don’t know, Framer is a JavaScript framework, Framer.js, and there’s also an editor with a live preview called Framer Studio made by some great guys who are very talented, ex-sofa, ex-Facebook, ex-whatever.

Keith Smyth:            
Something like Swift would be really good as well because you can code and you can see it immediately.

Marc Edwards:            
Yes. Framer is actually a lot like Swift Playground.

Keith Smyth:            
It’s probably what that was based on.

Marc Edwards:            
Yes. I mean they’re all obviously … all benefits depending on what you are trying to achieve. Framer is mostly for prototyping, so it can be good. In fact, I wrote my first Framer thing not that long ago and it was to prototype the interaction. Again, it was just trying to save time to kind of work stuff out and do the thinking part before we spend any time on engineering.

Keith Smyth:            
Pete, you were mentioning a couple of tools. I’ve heard you say before that you want to be more like a developer as well when you’re learning your design. You had a couple of tools that you were talking about at that time.

Peter Talbot:            
Yes. I’m interested to hear you say that because at the moment I’m sort of trying to make a bit of a transition into … like we’ve used things like Origami in the past and I just sort of find that a little bit overkill and a little bit sort of complicated. And the output kind of doesn’t really do anything whereas Framer.js kind of makes a bit more sense. I’ve found with the new devices and all these different screen resolutions and the fact that you can put the 6 plus in landscape mode and you can get like the dual panel thing …

I’ve just started playing around with Interface Builder just to sort of see how my layout and designs are going to adapt and change, just because I find it’s too hard to sort of prototype that, or it’s too hard to sort of imagine what that is going to look like in Illustrator of Photoshop or Skala, which we’ll talk about later.

I’ve sort of found that now, because we’re stepping away from the highly detailed skeuomorphic things that look like things and the crazy embellishments and the custom stuff that we’ve all done in the past …

Keith Smyth:         
Pixel perfection.

Peter Talbot:            
Yes, moving away from that pixel perfection stuff and just simpler, cleaner layouts – we can spend more of our time focusing on how the things are going to move and react and change and how users are going to play with things. To me, I think our role as UI designers is sort of shifting a bit from creating this intricate artwork to using simple artwork and using native stuff, but thinking more about how that is going to be applied, and how it’s going to move and live and breathe and all that sort of thing.

Marc Edwards:        
Yes, definitely. Auto Layouts is kind of interesting in that it’s sort of in the design domain in that you’re describing the rules for how the design will work but it’s obviously very technical as well. I think it’s possible to cause a crash based on Auto Layout set up and I have certainly done stuff that has broken things horribly.

Peter Talbot:            
I look forward to that.

Marc Edwards:            
Again, GitHub has been great for that because I can revert back to that …

Danny Gorog:           
What sort of tools do you use when you are working with your engineer? I assume you don’t sit in the same room. I assume they sit somewhere else and you sit at home.

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, we work remotely, so we’re not in the same location at all.

Danny Gorog:            
Do you sort of have regular hours that you work or do you work all the time? It’s interesting. You’ve got your own business, how many do you reckon you work a week?

Marc Edwards:            
I don’t know. It’s sort of casual, like I’ll just pick up the phone and answer support tweets like, “Is that working?” “Yes, I guess it is,” but that’s not that heavy duty, it’s pretty light weight if I’m waiting in line to get a coffee or something. I don’t know. The answer is probably a lot but it’s, in some respects, not as stressful as when I was doing client work because you can kind of get up and walk away. Sometimes there are issues where we have serious bugs that need to be addressed immediately but generally speaking we’re just working towards releases really.

Danny Gorog:          
But do you find that, “Now I’m working. Now I’m not working?”

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, I have never really had a problem with that. I realize that obviously motivation is difficult for some people and separation is difficult for some people, but for whatever reason I haven’t really found that to be an issue. We’ve got a few employees and motivation hasn’t been an issue for anyone yet, so we’re trying to not grow in some respects.

Peter Talbot:         
You mentioned you work remotely with Steve, what does that look like technically? Is it Skype? Are you on Face Time? What tools do you use to facilitate?

Marc Edwards:       
So much of that communication is done using messages in OS 10, AOL, which means it kind of doesn’t work half the time. Sorry, AIM, the instant messager.

Danny Gorog:        
But not iMessage?

Marc Edwards:      
No, we do use iMessage but in terms of the volume of stuff we’re sending, it’s kind of nice to have peer-to-peer. If you are sending videos and images and files, we send everything via AIM, which is a real problem because recently, the last few years, has been quite terrible.

Peter Talbot:            
We actually use ICQ in the office.

Keith Smyth:            
We just like the little sound effect.

Marc Edwards:           
I’m using Slack with some other people, so I’m working quite closely with that, the Shifty Jelly guys, so I’ve been helping them out in a couple of projects and they’ve been helping us out. Slack has been awesome. Slack has been really, really good, so maybe we’ll start using that.

Danny Gorog:            
Talking about Shifty Jelly and Weather AU, do you think that developers are updating their apps to support iPhone 6 and 6 Plus screens fast enough?

Marc Edwards:        
Here’s the issue.

Danny Gorog:         
They haven’t done it yet.

Peter Talbot:          
It could be because UI is incredibly custom.

Marc Edwards:      
It is incredibly customer. It’s very complex. They have got a lot of other projects they’re working on. They’re a small team. The other thing is that Apple kind of just dropped that on us. I mean fair enough, we knew with the size classes, the regular and compact, but it was kind of like no one knew how they were actually going to work and how we could deliver apps that would support that.

I think Apple did an absolutely terrible job of expressing that and giving the information to developers. For them, just to announce new phones and go, “Suck it in guys, you’re just going to have work it out. You’re probably just going to have to follow some people on Twitter who might figure out how this works.”

Keith Smyth:            
It’s a really weird balance trying to get that big media thing, “Look, we just changed everything,” and then letting people know “Hey, things are changing, maybe you should update your apps.”

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, and obviously for the key notes, they love it, it’s like $699, shipping, today, it’s like “Woo!” But as you mentioned Danny, that sucks for the apps and developers because they’re like, “We don’t even know how to support that. We know that we’ve got this sized-class thing that was kind of mentioned at WWDC. It wasn’t really explained in that much detail how that would relate to specific device sizes.” Then, “Hey, who knows, the way you actually do this is by having the new storyboard based loading …” whatever it’s called, “Application loading screen.”

It seemed like people were finding that out by accident, by making mistakes, like Marko Arment with Overcast released an update that magically worked. For a lot of developers, that’s how it works. It’s not like, “Here’s an Apple documentation that describes that’s what you need to do.” So yes, it sucks. I’ve been the same. I’ve been like “Damn it! Dropbox …” I mean Dropbox is updated now but I’m like “Yes, it doesn’t support iPhone 6 yet.” But give them credit, they’ve only had a few weeks.

Danny Gorog:            
I don’t know. In Instagram and Facebook, that just happened this week. I’m like well don’t they have big engineering teams who would just be on this?

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, they have big engineering teams but there’s a lot of moving parts, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong. If you’ve got a billion customers shipping a dud update, it’s actually kind of bad news. We’ve released Skala – this is something we’ve got a lot of people asking about. We released Skala view for iOS, the update has come out for iPhone 6, 6 Plus support, and that is really critical because people are designing apps, they obviously need their tools to work before they even release the apps.

But again, it was the same thing for us, we’ve got other things we’re trying to get out, we’ve got something we’re probably desperately patching to fix up whatever it is or get another update out. We have to wait … even though it’s a small team, even though we can be really agile and we can drop everything and kind of get into it, we still have certain criteria we need to meet to make all the other software we’re developing work well.

Peter Talbot:            
How do you feel … because it’s interesting now with the announcement of Material Design and that all the documentation that Google have put for Android and updated recently … there are a lot of tools that Android produce to help designers and developers make better looking apps. Whereas I feel that Apple is, like you were saying before, they’re just kind of like, “Good luck.” Like they have the H.I.G and it’s all very secretive, there are a couple of things in WWDC where they are just like, “What’s new in Interface Builder?” “Well, this thing is kind of like stretched now but we’re not going to give you any dimensions or anything like that.”

There’s a real lack of documentation and they sort of leave it to the community to figure out what the solution is. Do you feel that needs to be addressed or do you think it’s working as it currently is? Do you feel like Google’s approach with Material Design is the right way to go?

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, I agree. Obviously some of this stuff isn’t that hard and someone will work out. There are obviously a lot of developers, a lot of designers that rely on this stuff, and the community has been pretty good for all platforms and supporting with assets. But I think Apple haven’t necessarily been as good as Google when it comes to supplying files with parts and information.

Peter Talbot:            
Like the fact that you can’t even get a PSD with the official Apple UI in it, you can’t get anything.

Marc Edwards:            
Forget about that. The icon mask that is used on iOS has never … as far as I’m aware, never been made available to anyone.

Danny Gorog:            
So people have just made their own.

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, they’ve made their own. I actually worked with a couple of other guys where someone wrote an algorithm, and I can’t remember his name sorry …

Keith Smyth:        
Algorithm guy.

Marc Edwards:         
Yes, we can link to it in the show notes.

Peter Talbot:       
We don’t publish this. We’re not even recording.

Marc Edwards:        
I think there is a function in iOS to draw like a path but it’s a code thing, it’s not like here’s a PSD with a path. He, based on that, modified it slightly and mutated it until it fit by doing image diffs with screen captures, and we ended with a path that was really close. I thought I have something good before that but he made it way better. Then as part of that, I built it into a Photoshop template and Illustrator template and then gave that away to the community. Knowing how your icon is going to get trimmed is kind of important.

Danny Gorog:          
I still see lots of apps that have got it completely wrong.

Peter Talbot:            
It sounds like a really simple thing but as Marc was saying, the actual curve, it’s like a really fancy curve. It’s not just 10 pixels rounded corners or whatever, it changes and it’s got depth. I can see why Joe Blog’s app that has like the bevel around, I think we’ve just given up on doing bevels because …

Marc Edwards:          
I think the masking is even different across Apple’s …

Peter Talbot:            
That’s what I was going to say. In iTunes it renders it differently. In the app store it looks different. On the springboard it looks different. Then if you share the app and it ends up in Facebook, there’s no mask at all. So if you have like just a box or even worse if you have the stroke, like you’re trying to go for the stroke edge around your app or whatever, do something fancy, then your corners are wide, or something, or another colour, when you share the app on social media it just looks awful.

Danny Gorog:         
If you ask them those questions when you are at WWDC, do you sort of say, “Look can we have a …”

Marc Edwards:         
I haven’t, no, but it seems like what you were asking before about the iOS 8 and the state of play, it seems like they’ve redone a whole lot of stuff that didn’t necessarily need redoing and not address things that haven’t been addressed. Some of the stuff would be … not that they’re difficult but I guess in terms of selling hardware, maybe it doesn’t really matter to them as much and that, I guess, talking about aligned motivations and whether this stuff is on their hit list of things to do, maybe it’s just not because it just doesn’t matter to them.

Danny Gorog:            
Probably Renee has talked about it. Do you think they’re going too fast at the moment? They’re trying to do too much too soon?

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, I think everyone agrees and hopefully Apple does as well. The thing is, maybe that’s needed because in terms of their business, maybe it would be bad if they hadn’t. I guess we’re kind of … one way of looking at the mobile industry, maybe we’re in the Commodore 64 Amstrad cycle, where desktop computers were … when there was a fight, where there was all sorts of different platforms, maybe we’re are bit beyond that.

Danny Gorog:            
Yes, I think we’re beyond that. I think we’re a bit beyond that.

Marc Edwards:            
A bit beyond that but certainly that was where a lot of the innovation was, a lot of the fighting, a lot of the winners and losers were decided earlier on with the desktop PC industry, around that era. Maybe Apple are right in moving really fast right now because they need to make sure they’re out in front, otherwise they’ll be eaten up by Windows phone, whatever, Android, and …

Keith Smyth:            
I would pay to see that, a Windows phone just winning the whole mobile race.

Peter Talbot:            
I have just about enough of your Windows phone, all right.

Marc Edwards:         
But in the same breath, maybe now is also a good time after they have shipped the IOS 7 which is obviously a big change, Yosemite was a big change, iOS 8 includes a lot of developer stuff even though … I guess there is a lot front-facing stuff as well but maybe now is a good time to have a Snow, iOS in Snow …

Danny Gorog:         
Just sort of engineering fixes.

Marc Edwards:          
Yes, especially if they are going to try and keep it to a yearly cycle which seems crazy given that …

Danny Gorog:          
You wonder how long they can keep up with that. I got the sense that Google was slowing down a bit because when they came with the Android Lollipop, but they didn’t talk about it as Android 5 at the time, did they?

Marc Edwards:         
They just talked about it as a point update. It could have been a point update.

Keith Smyth:        
Yes, it could 4.5 for all we knew.

Danny Gorog:           
It really is more like a 4.5.

Peter Talbot:           
Seriously?

Danny Gorog:     
No, I don’t know. Is it a big update?

Keith Smyth:            
It’s the biggest API update they’ve done in a long time.

Marc Edwards:            
I was looking at vector drawable animated something, something, something.

Keith Smyth:           
That’s the exact name of it.

Marc Edwards:           
Yes. Again, that’s a 5.0 anything and that’s Vector assets, animated Vector assets.

Keith Smyth:            
Which they need because we have all the screens.

Danny Gorog:           
Isn’t that what iOS almost needs now?

Marc Edwards:      
Absolutely. In fact … and you talk about Android having lots of densities and all the screens but Android kind of now, if you are targeting Android, you kind of need to build 2x, 3x, and maybe 4 x, maybe 1.5, definitely not 1.0, like medium dpi, but iOS really isn’t any different anymore. Like there is 1x, 2x, 3x, the non-retina iPad mini still exists. It still runs iOS 8. So that means you have to target 1x. That means iOS is 1x, 2x, 3x, Android is 2x, 3x, maybe 4x. So Android is actually almost easier to design for now.

Peter Talbot:       
Which is terrifying. If anyone has designed for Android, like these new updates for iOS development, it’s like, “Okay, whatever, I can handle this,” because we’ve always dealt with whatever, the “adaptive” layout, the responsive stuff, you’ve had four buckets, you’ve had to export all this in a quick and efficient way otherwise you’re just dead in the water basically. I think Android development and iOS development is pretty much the same thing right now.

Keith Smyth:            
Yes, they are very similar. We have HMDPI, HDPI, XDPI, and then you just keep adding xs.

Peter Talbot:         
So Marc, just while I’ve got you here. Speaking of 1x, 2x, 3x, what does your workflow look like? If you’re about to design an iPhone app, for example, how do you do that? How do you go about that?

Marc Edwards:       
This is the most boring answer …

Peter Talbot:           
Boring answers are good.

Marc Edwards:          
Most designers hate and they just don’t … most of them … I’ve spoken to a lot people about this and most of them, the ones that do it think it’s awesome, the ones that don’t usually just completely disagree with it but I just build everything at 1x. That’s it, that’s the trick. You build it in such a way that … I use Photoshop most of the time, a combination of Photoshop and Illustrator, build things in a way that Photoshop happily regenerate that size.

So if you’re using vector shapes, they get redrawn at size. If you’re using layer styles, they get redrawn at size rather than using bitmaps, it just means you can scale a document up and down at will. So if you are designing at 1x and you want to see at 2x, I’ve got an action, I click it, it says ‘scale to 200%’ run some magic stuff, and that’s it.

Peter Talbot:            
Does that export PNGs for you?

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, it scales the whole canvas. I usually keep my mock ups and my assets separate. When it comes time to build assets, I usually build slide sheets. I have used generator and extract a little bit but I trust the method I’m using right now. There’s a few edge cases of generator that I’m not … I think I will use it more and more but it’s not quite integrated in my workflow yet.

Peter Talbot:          
You use slices.

Marc Edwards:         
Yes. I build up a giant sheet. If you imagine all of your assets laid out x, y, on a big, big sheet, and then use Photoshop slice feature, which means you can name them and you can control padding really, really easily, which is something the generator has a little bit of difficulty with. You can’t with masks but …

Peter Talbot:           
Yes, that is where we sort of hack it and use masks, not hack it, but … so we’re using generator. We have noticed difficulties with that but we just do quick masks for the padding and stuff like that.

Marc Edwards:           
A quick example of great use for slices is if you’ve got, say, 100 icons and they’re all the same size and they’re all the same colour, which is really common, you might have toolbar icons or something and there might be lots of different versions. With these slices, you could have one layer, there are all the icons. It has all the styling, so you want to change the colour, you change one layer. Then the slices, you can actually use something called divide. You could cradle the slices in like five seconds and then you name them all and you’re done. Then I’ve got an action that exports 1x to a known location on my hard drive, and then 2x, 3x, and then I use Hazel which renames all the files and puts them all together.

So depending on what you are after, if you are after the Android folders or whatever else, you can export 1x, 2x, and 3x based on that. You can end up with documents that have only like one or two layers that export hundreds of files and they’re just really simple and really fast to work with.

Peter Talbot:            
When you say you’re designing at 1x, I’m assuming you’ve got Skala Preview running?

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, usually when I’m building the mock up, not when I’m building the asset files.

Peter Talbot:            
Okay. I’m talking about the layout and the mock up.

Marc Edwards:           
Generally I use 1x because what you want to do is if you’re handing off view sizes or you’ve got whatever, you basically want your layer to be 1x. You don’t want say to a developer this view is 10.5 iOS points wide that’s just not cool for many reasons, especially now we have 3x. So 1 iOS point is equal to 1x pixel like one 2007 iPhone pixel, which means if you have half an iOS point, that’s one pixel on a retina display but on a retina HD or whatever they call it in the iPhone 6 plus 3x, that will end up being … so the 3x pixels, it’s a third of a point.

It means you end with a third, and then half of the next third, so basically you end up with a sharp pixel on retina for half an iOS point and then blurry pixel for 3x. I don’t think I did a very good job of explaining that. Basically you want your layout to be on iOS points and Android DP as much as possible because there are lots of benefits and those benefits are even more apparent now we have 3x.

Peter Talbot:            
There are a lot of people talking about, “Okay, this is the end of pixel perfection and it’s more like doing print design, it’s more like … pixels are now more like dots, etcetera,” do you feel the blurry line that you mentioned on the super HD, whatever Apple are calling it, the mega retina display, do you feel a blurry line is still an issue?

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, I think it’s completely unacceptable. There are lots of reasons why because quite often, certainly with the iPhone 6 plus is a good example, if you’ve got a 3x asset and you have a blurry line because you’ve designed it at retina, so you’ve designed 2x size, and then you’ve scaled it up 1.5, it’s all drawn vector but it’s obviously something that was previously pixel snapped on a half pixel or whatever it is, whatever it ends up being. What you’ve ended up with is an asset, a ping asset that has, as you mentioned, blurry lines, especially apparent on 90-degree straight lines, horizontal and vertical lines.

Then in the case of the iPhone 6 plus, it gets rendered at 3x virtual canvas and then it gets scaled down again. So you’ve now scaled your bitmap twice. Have you seen the shimmering when you scroll really slowly? It doesn’t really matter how you paint it, if you’re not snapping to pixels, there are usually repercussions and they get more subtle as the displays get higher DPI but I just feel like there is no reason to even not design to hold iOS points unless you want some detail where you’re like, “There’s a fine line here that needs to be whatever 1 pixel,” but even then you can still design at 1x knowing how it’s going to play out.

Peter Talbot:            
When we were talking about generating assets, I mean the pixel line probably is a new good example because you would render that in code anyway, if you could.

Marc Edwards:            
Oh yes, but icons might have a single line.

Danny Gorog:          
Can I ask, two, three, four years’ time, what is the future of these displays? They are all going to be 3x, are they going to be 4x, like what’s …?

Marc Edwards:            
To be honest, I thought Apple were going to stop at 2x because there is not that much benefit in going to 3x. I think if they had, obviously, iPhone 6 plus isn’t a true 3x display and the LG G3 is 4X, I think, a true 4x.

Peter Talbot:            
Is it not true because they scale it down to 1080p?

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, the display is 1080p, it’s like 2.6 or whatever, but the method they’re using is a good method because that means we don’t have to deal with issues but it means the entire display gets bitmap scaled. Clearly in a year or two they will have a true 3x phone, it seems likely.

Danny Gorog:            
But why wouldn’t they have done 3x, a true 3x phone on that sized screen?

Marc Edwards:     
I’m sure it was just yields and margins and other … if you’re building 100 million devices …

Danny Gorog:     
But it is a 3x screen, isn’t it?

Marc Edwards:      
No, it’s not. It’s 1080p.

Danny Gorog:          
So you’ve got to use 3x assets in then they scale it down?

Marc Edwards:         
Yes, I can’t remember the exact … or something. Basically it gets rendered to a virtual canvas that is 3x and then bitmap scaled down live.

Peter Talbot:       
I heard that the actual hardware itself, the display and the actual pixels, it’s a higher resolution than 1080p.

Keith Smyth:           
It does what your Mac Book does, doesn’t it?

Marc Edwards:     
That’s exactly what it does.

Peter Talbot:        
But then it scaled. It scales up.

Marc Edwards:            
It’s really quite simple. It is like the Mac Book scaling methods if you have one of the non-native … whatever it is more space or more whatever. It just renders at a virtual canvas in memory that is bigger, that is true 3x. Again, I can’t remember the exact numbers, it’s 2208 by something. It’s a really big number, and then they scale down about 87% to hit the 1080 display.

Keith Smyth:    
I think to be defined as 3x, is it a density thing that you’re looking at or is it just pure number of pixels on the screen?

Marc Edwards:  
Yes, it’s density. This is interesting because Apple’s method for the iPhone 6 Plus is something that Android has never done. Android actually does it in a superior quality way, where 3x means 3x, UI scale, and there is no bitmap scaling in Android, it’s just more like responsive web.

Keith Smyth:  
Android is not very good at scaling bitmaps anyway so it’s probably better we don’t.

Peter Talbot:
Before we get onto the iWatch, as Danny inspired me ‘going back to the future,’ do you think we won’t have to worry about this when everything is … when we’re all using vectors for everything? Is that the ultimate goal?

Marc Edwards:  
I guess there are two paths to that. The first one is 3x the end, and as I mentioned LG G3 is 4x on Android, so maybe not. I don’t know why there’d be any point going to 4x. I thought Apple were going to stop at 2, because there are other benefits to go … right now it’s 8-bit per channel for the displays, it’s like 24-bit colour. There are actually other benefits to go 10-bit per channel. There are lots of good reasons for that that I thought they’d maybe tackle that first before going higher display density. It feels like a bit of a spec race with Android and I don’t know why they would do that.

But surely there has to be an end point. Whether it’s 3x or 4, I mean 4x would be kind of nice because it’s a nice round number, and 3x has some other issues. Surely it has to stop at some point, and there’s just no benefit in going higher. So yes, I think there will be an endpoint but I thought that was going to 2x for iOS, maybe it’s going to be 4x.

Peter Talbot:    
Surely there’ll be an end point with mega pixels with cameras, but that hasn’t stopped.

Marc Edwards:    
Yes, true. I don’t know.

Danny Gorog:   
It’s sort of slowing down, isn’t it? There’s kind of this race to get to a great resolution and then it kind of …

Keith Smyth:       
All right, that’s good enough.

Danny Gorog:     
Yes.

Marc Edwards:            
It’s at the point where people won’t necessarily notice. The difference between standard def. TV and high def. TV is quite significant. You can notice it at normal viewing distances, especially like if you’re watching the Olympics and there’s like horizontal … there’s the track lines, you can see them. Really SD is quite terrible. HD is pretty good, 4k better again but is it really going to matter if you don’t have an 80 inch TV?

Peter Talbot:       
I find when I’m at J.B Hi-Fi under the lights and everything and there is like a 1080p TV and a 4k TV, I’m always like “Wow, that looks great.” Then I check to see if it’s 4k and I’m like “Okay, it is,” but sometimes … Yes, exactly, the step from SD to HD is massive, 4K is like, “Wow, that’s better!”

Marc Edwards:         
4k is the same as apps in terms of 4k isn’t that much content. Apps are a little bit easier to build, rebuild your content for a different density. The other thing you mentioned was vector – are we just going to be doing everything in vectors? I don’t think so. I really don’t and I think it’s always going to be a mix and exactly as we are now. I think the web right now, or website uses a lot of SVG, we also use a lot of bitmaps. Our apps, you can’t use SVG on iOS unless you use like third party frameworks for doing it.

As we mentioned previously, Android now has scalable vector format that is part of the SDK which is awesome. That’s really good but I think there are certain things where you want to control the rendering, and it’s better being done offline by a desktop computer rather than actually being done real-time in your app. There are performance reasons for that. There’s, again, rendering capabilities. Even just CSS gradients, there are certain optimisations that I’m sure the chrome, the blink team have done to make their browser nice and fast but it means they’re not as high quality as what you would expect in a desktop design application.

So depending on what you’re after, it’s more about when you render, it’s like when do you convert vector to bitmap? For a lot of us, in Photoshop, everything is vector, as in it’s being constructed as vector and then you render the bitmaps as you create the assets for the app, whereas maybe you want to do the PDF format, it’s a new thing iOS, that gets done by Xcode before asset building. You still have pings in the app, so there is no benefit there. All you’re doing is basically not using Photoshop to render.

Danny Gorog:       
Can I ask you a question about Photoshop?

Marc Edwards:      
Yes, sure.

Danny Gorog:      
Can you see a time when A) You will not use Photoshop to do all this stuff? You might use a Pixelmator or some other sort of Acorn style app, and B) Can you see a time when you would be able to do this stuff on an iPad?

Marc Edwards:       
Kind of yes to both. I mean obviously we’re building our own new art design tool that we can talk about in a sec, that won’t do everything Photoshop does at all but it will be tailored specifically for my own specific OCD’s around these things and also for designing UI. Photoshop has lots of problems. It’s actually really awesome and in terms of rendering quality it doesn’t take long to trip up a lot of the competition. I personally have championed Photoshop for that reason, even if it’s more effort, even if it’s not as fun to use, even if it requires like five years of solid learning to even be competent in it, unlike some of the other apps that are out there, you end up with better results.

Peter Talbot:        
When you say competition, are you talking specifically about Sketch or Fireworks or Illustrator in terms of rendering?

Marc Edwards:          
How long do you have? I’ve done a lot of tests with pretty much everything and Acorn gets a lot of stuff right. The Acorn dev, what’s his name, Gus Mueller, he’s awesome. He gets it. He can understand that because, again, a lot of the tests I do, Acorn comes up trumps. Pixelmator I’ve always seen … they’ve copied a lot of Adobe’s mistakes in terms of UI. It’s a nice app …

Danny Gorog:      
They’re the guys up on stage doing a demo on the iPad …

Marc Edwards:        
Yes, they were. Again, it’s an amazing app. For the money, it’s crazy. I would definitely recommend Pixelmator to a lot of people but for me to use a tool, I have Photoshop. Again, yes, rendering … so a lot of the other apps, Fireworks is obviously dead unfortunately, that would have been nice to keep going. Sketch uses core graphics.

Peter Talbot:           
Still a lot of people use that.

Danny Gorog:         
Can we talk about Skala?

Marc Edwards:           
Yes, sure.

Danny Gorog:         
Tell us what are you building?

Marc Edwards:           
We’re building a UI design tool that’s specifically for … we’re targetting the high-enders. This is for professional CUs.

Danny Gorog:            
It’s got to be expensive. Targeting the high end means expensive.

Marc Edwards:            
No, obviously we’re a very small team, so our threshold for success means we don’t need to charge a fortune for it. It’s specifically for UI and icon design and it’s to tackle pretty much all the problems we’ve been talking about today to make it easy, because most of this stuff could be automated.

Danny Gorog:            
This is the biggest undertaking that Bjango have ever done? It’s just massive, yes?

Peter Talbot:           
It’s Bjango unchained.

Marc Edwards:       
It’s a bet the company type thing.

Danny Gorog:         
You might not be able to answer but A) How long have you been working on it? B) When can we expect it?

Marc Edwards:         
We’ve been working on it for years, a long, long time, like longer than most people would think.

Danny Gorog:            
The Windows version, yes?

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, the Windows version. In terms of shipping, we’re not sure. We’ve done a lot of work and to be honest it’s crazy. I thought most of our time was going to be getting interactions right and getting a lot of the rendering code right but most of it’s been kind of database management. It’s pure, “Here’s what we want …”

You were talking about prototyping before as well. I drew a sketch in Illustrator of ‘here is what I want the UI to look like.’ When I was pitching it to the main dev on the project who’s actually not my business partner, he’s someone else who has come on board who is awesome, I was like, “Here’s what I want the tool to look like and here’s the things I want it to do.” To be honest, our UI is almost identical to that day. In terms of what it does, it’s pretty much identical as well except a few things that have been spec’d up because this guy is so awesome.

Peter Talbot:
Is that because …?

Danny Gorog:
That’s good. That’s rewarding, isn’t it?

Marc Edwards:
Yes, it’s been incredibly linear. In terms of when we’re shipping, we don’t know. We’ve done a lot of work and we’ve done a lot of work that I think will matter and won’t necessarily become apparent until version 2 or version 3.

Danny Gorog:
Are you sort of an alpha or beta?

Marc Edwards:
I’m not using it yet, no.

Danny Gorog:
You’re not using it yet?

Marc Edwards:
No, I can’t use it yet but we’re not … who knows.

Danny Gorog:
You don’t get worried that Apple will come along and build that functionality into Xcode? Which is what they have done with Sean and … what’s it called?

Marc Edwards:
Reveal.

Danny Gorog:
Yes.

Keith Smyth:
But then they have to buy him and he gets Ferrari money.

Danny Gorog:         
Well, I don’t know if they’ve bought it.

Marc Edwards:            
To be honest, I don’t think … if I’m being really, really blunt about all the possible potential competition. I don’t think there’s that many people that have the domain expertise to get this really, really, truly deeply get it, and I don’t think anyone is dumb enough to attempt it. I also don’t think the reward is necessarily big enough.

Danny Gorog:            
It sounds like a great business.

Marc Edwards:            
Yes. So I don’t see … I mean who knows what they’re doing? Maybe they are but I don’t see someone like Apple or Google bothering because it just doesn’t fit their business model. There are probably others, there are probably VC-funded companies that could be doing it, they usually announce when they get funding anyway, so it’s like we probably know about them already. We’ve been working on it for years, so it’s like … honestly, if someone wants to compete, “Good luck.”

Peter Talbot:            
Do you feel like you are out there on your own or are there competitors that are doing similar stuff?

Marc Edwards:            
There is definitely. Obviously we’re all building apps now. We’re all using other tools, so there are obviously other tools, and there is going to be things we don’t do and there is going to be things people like about the other tools. That’s fine. We may have competition and we may end up being compared directly, I’m sure we will in a lot of respects, and some of these comparisons may not work that favourably for us. There are certain things we’re not going to do very well but we don’t need other people to lose for us to win. Most designers … I own pretty much any design tool that’s above a certain threshold. I just buy them because a lot of them will do something well and that’s enough to have it.

Peter Talbot:            
When you release this tool and it’s great, it comes out of alpha, beta, how disruptive will it be in terms of how will it change your workflow from what it currently is now to what it will be next year?

Marc Edwards:            
Right now, again, I’m using Photoshop for certainly final asset exporting. My workflow is kind of a bunch of scripts and actions and held together with gaffer tape. In Skala, it’s the stuff … I mean I’ll be happy with it. We’ve been deeply considering this stuff from day one so it’s going to be incredibly automated, incredibly fast and really high quality. For me, the way things that are working now, they’re okay where they are but I can understand why a lot of other people, even though I’ve provided the actions for other people and the scripts, a lot of people may not want to go to that effort to construct this tower of cards, house of cards that isn’t always perfect.

Peter Talbot:            
So you’re still on track to release this year?

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, I’m not sure. I mean that’s the best answer I can give you. We’re working as fast as we possibly can. We have someone else starting November the 1st to help on the … certainly the Cocoa side and we’re working as fast as we possibly can.

Peter Talbot:            
Well, we’re all very excited, so if you need some user testers and some feedback we’ll …

Marc Edwards:         
Absolutely.

Peter Talbot:           
We’ll run it through its paces.

Keith Smyth:           
We’ll put Pete on the beta.

Peter Talbot:           
So, we’ve got a few minutes left, do you want to talk about …

Danny Gorog:           
I’ve got a few minutes left. Just thoughts on the watch, thoughts on the watch UI, have you got a sense of … I hear that Apple are releasing a WatchKit next month. I think that’s going to be a ‘let us build’ widget and notifications rather than native apps on the watch.

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, it seems like it’s maybe … is it remote view controllers or whatever the technical term is. Basically there might be stuff running on the watch but you don’t necessarily really get to control it that much. Yes, it seems really exciting. I think a lot of us like the iPad, I guess, in a lot of respects but a lot of is don’t know how we’re going to use the watch. It seems really exciting. It’s a cool bit of tech. Again, Android Wear has been out for a while as well. It seems awesome. There are lots of opportunities but I just … unlike the phone, when the phone was released it was like, “Oh, I use a phone already. I’ll get the phone.” Obviously it’s more than that, it’s a pocket computer but, again, the watch is the same.

Peter Talbot:            
My initial thought when I saw the keynote with the Apple watch was how ambitious it was. I was kind of expecting like this is going to be some sort of nice notification, it would do like an Apple thing. You know how they always release products; it just sounds something really cool you didn’t think of really well. I thought it would be something like that and maybe sort of health focused but it was like, “Oh okay, this is a fully fledged device and it doesn’t have a sim card in it and stuff like that, but it runs apps and it does stuff and it’s got 18 different bands and it’s got …”

Danny Gorog:        
It’s called Watch OS I think.

Peter Talbot:            
Yes, the fact that it has its own thing going, what was your take on that? Were you surprised or were you expecting something like that?

Marc Edwards:        
Yes, I guess it was a pretty big shock. I think the end goal is for them to build something that will … obviously right now it needs an iPhone. Eventually … that’s for cell and Wi-Fi and everything else but yes, I don’t know, I mean it’s really exciting.

Danny Gorog:            
It’s the next phone. It will replace your phone eventually.

Marc Edwards:        
Yes, I guess the interesting part will be if you guys have clients asking for watch apps or apps that …

Danny Gorog:          
We already have one signed up.

Marc Edwards:           
Oh okay, there you go.

Danny Gorog:            
We’ve built the Pebble watch … we built the ALF Live app for Pebble and you can imagine this is the sort of stuff we do in terms of sports, very relevant for on-the-wrist notification.

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, true. I guess if you’re at the game, you don’t want to be … or even if you’re just …

Peter Talbot:           
If you’re at your own wedding and want to check the footy scores, that’s what the Pebble app is.

Danny Gorog:            
I’ve sort of gotten new life out of my Pebble now that it’s got the background activity monitor and stuff. I’m just wearing it all the time. I’m just like, “I’ve got to wear my Pebble to see how much I’m walking.” It’s really cool fun.

Peter Talbot:            
Just more on the watch, I’m just a bit obsessed about it. The look and feel and the UI that actually lives on the watch, and I know it’s still early days and it’s not released and a lot of those images are for marketing purposes and to get people really excited about it, but the design aesthetic and the look and feel of the UI on the Apple Watch is quite different to iOS 8 for example, how did you feel about that? What do you think that is?

Marc Edwards:            
I definitely love the home screen there, the dots, that’s really cool, and the digital crown obviously means we’ve now got an iPod click wheel back again. I love the iPod click wheel. I thought it was a really cool way of interacting. That can be kind of fun for soft of apps that can benefit from that, and obviously Apple have put all the time and effort into making their own stuff work with that.

Danny Gorog:          
It’s actually a bit of an auspicious day today. They had their … Apple’s earnings came out and they’ve now lumped the iPod, Apple TV, Apple Watch, and something else into just one category, so they’re not even reporting on iPods as a separate line item any more.

Marc Edwards:            
Yes, and that will be fun for Apple Watch, they can pretty much hide it.

Danny Gorog:       
Correct, so that was interesting to see.

Marc Edwards:        
Doubling down on secrecy.

Danny Gorog:            
Absolutely.

Peter Talbot:          
Cool, well that has been awesome. Thank you so much Marc for coming in.

Marc Edwards:        
Thanks a lot.

Peter Talbot:       
Thank you Keith, thank you Danny. You can catch us, send us a tweet at @outware. My name is Pete. You’ve been great. Thank you.

[End of transcript 01:01:12]

 

Episode 30 of the OMPodcast is now available for download from iTunes, via direct feed, or direct download (audio file).