Apple as the Gatekeeper
Yes, we all heard the arguments: On one hand, cellphones are critical devices and users can’t afford delays caused by bad code, so a gatekeeper is required. On the other hand, Apple can be as capricious as it wants - refusing applications out of whim, allowing big players access to undocumented features - and the developers can only swallow the pill and work around it.
If Apple wants to be the gatekeeper, shouldn’t they offer something else in return? Below I write about two ideas that can only work correctly with a top-down approval system, like what Apple offers.
The iPhone menu is broken: Moving one icon pushes all the others, hence no position is fixed and there’s no muscle memory (when you are so sure of your moves you don’t have to look to accomplish it).
iPhone has 10K apps and growing, there’s simply no way you can create a one-size-fits-all menu off it. What to do?
Then again, iPhone has a refined touchscreen, why be stuck in the old point-and-click method? Why not draw something on the screen, and summon the matching application? Upside-down V for Amazon, M for mail, S for safari, anywhere on the home screen, Presto!
Yes, users need to learn each matching gesture, but application developers would be more than willing to educate them.
But, developers can’t assign gestures willy-nilly to their apps, otherwise different apps could use the same gesture and that’s a problem. We need a top-down system to compare and approve the gesture library.
This feature already exists for the default iPhone apps: I’m talking about when you receive a youtube link email, and iPhone opens the YouTube application instead of safari. The same happens with any google maps link.
But what if I receive an Amazon link, and I have the Amazon iPhone app? Or what about a facebook profile? Or twitter? Currently iPhone disregards I have the applications installed, and points to safari.
Link redirect allows applications to claim certain domains to itself, making sure it can display the information properly.
Of course, this claiming stuff can be a little tricky: What if amazon doesn’t want to give access to a specific app? Someone has to be the gatekeeper huh? That’s Apple’s job.
I have 2 open projects I wanna move forward, and I need some running mates to motivate me.
My idea is to have a weekly virtual meeting to discuss problems, solutions, progress, and what’s going on on the web.
Treat it as a poker night: it’s sacred time. We’re already pretty busy, and negotiate new time slots for 4 grown men on a weekly basis is insanity.
Technically, up to 4 participants chat thru video iChat and record their stream with screenflow. We assign a weekly editor, and send each screenflow files to him. I can take care of publishing: blog, podcast, feed, etc.
- Accountability: it becomes a videopodcast, the world is watching your steps.
- Consulting: pool of professionals giving good advice.
- Publicity: it gives visibility to what we do.
Think of “the view”, but for startups.
below are my thoughts on AMP’s taxi.com.br idea…
It can become a mix of vans (as in more than one passenger) and cabs (passenger defines point A and B), using networks to calculate the most optimal source. After all, fixed stops & fixed schedules were needed before the age of constant communication.
Check seamlessweb.com business plan: Customers use the web to order deliveries (credit card payment, better menu list, convenience) and restaurants don’t need to lock a line and pay employees to be available to call. It sits in the middle, helps both parties and gets a cut of the action.
Same way with your taxi.com.br… I’ll send you a paper about it if j can find it, but here’s the happy path:
- Customer goes online (minimal website interface, good but not limited to iPhones) tells point A (where he is), point B (where he wants to be) and optionally, when (defaults to as soon as possible)
- customer receives total price, pays right away
- customer receives an sms telling the 5 min before van arrives (the driver has to inform the system, more on that later)
- customer picks the van, is told when it arrives to point B
- customer receives an email asking to rate the experience.
Price fluctuates based on van availability on the area a or b, traffic, reputation.
The van is part of a club. It needs:
- initial checkup
- app installation fee (you sell)
- monthly fee (comm costs)
The app can be a simple beep with gps.
The higher the ratings:
- lower the monthly fee
- better offers (daily commute pool, fixed A, B points)
The driver doesn’t have to negotiate payment or service. The system deals with it and offers customers from the nearest places (route optimization). The driver gets the fare, a cut going to the system (70-30?)
- legislation, lobbies
- quality of service
- do we count start or end time? End time is better, but we need to take traffic into account
- airports, malls, any fixed point b
- daily commutes: customer pays monthly and can make minor adjustments (free prior 24h). You’re competing with cars!!!
- if overall cost is cheaper than car, with same benefits (control of a to b), market it as the green solution, find government grants
If a service is free and not open source, that means you are the product - in, sold to others - and not the consumer.
According to wikipedia, a darknet is “a private virtual network where users connect only to people they trust. In its most general meaning, a darknet can be any type of closed, private group of people communicating, but the name is most often used specifically for file sharing networks.”
- a password-protected remote folder
- a locked script file that:
- automatically deletes 6th file, per date
- creates, from the files uploaded, a rss feed with enclosures (podcast)
Usage: To publish
distribute the FTP account to members, to upload with the app of their choosing:
- music files
- QuickTime video files
Usage: To view
Users subscribe to the podcast, ensuring they’ll download the files before self-cleaning.
The password reduces the chance of sending the link away to friend-of-a-friend or spydering.
Private, few-to-few multimidia channel.
Make sure to only invite friends with similar tastes.
now that the SDK rules are out, and any system improvement is out of the question, I’m thinking on partnering with an iphone developer for a jailbroken app.
it should work this way:
- click and hold home button opens camera app.
- overrides password protection
- respects current UI guidelines
- release home button shoots picture.
- picture viewing respects password protection
- optional: automatic photo sync
- optional: metadata editing (i can write, eh?)
- add title
- add description
- add tags… er, keywords
- add rating
those are the software-only mods I think of that can make iphone a badass picture-taking machine.
original post here.