Looking forward to the future

I talk a lot about what has gone or what is taking place in the present but I thought I’d talk about things I am looking forward to in the future when it comes to Apple and Google.

Google has schedule a big hardware announcement around October this year which lines up with the release of Chrome/ChromeOS 70 which is in the process of harmonising the look and feel of standard Android and ChromeOS around the same design language – to avoid that jarring impact of running Android applications on ChromeOS:

Currently at the moment there isn’t a wide spread deployment of native Linux applications on Chrome OS but that also opens up the possibility for Steam making their way to the platform along with popular open source applications like LibreOffice for those who want a native offline office suite.

When it comes to the Chrome there is currently the material design being worked on behind the scenes along with the many Google web applications also being updated so that there is a unified language across their platform – be it their web applications or Android and Chrome, they’re all unified around the notion of creating a seamless experience between the desktop and the web so that web based applications don’t look out out of place which will pave the what for PWA’s become more mainstream with end users not being able to differentiate between a ‘native’ application and a PWA. Why is that important? Even when developers have worked to create a great web based experience, end users still demand ‘an app’ even though the web based application can do everything if not more but the middle but it is transparent then they won’t be at the mercy of having to write native code for each platform and then maintaining it. That being said though, developers area already making use of web based technologies such as the ASB Bank mobile banking application which shares a large amount of code between their iOS and Android versions because of the web technologies it relies on such as JSON and more. I’d hazard to guess that for a lot of bank applications there is a lot of code re-use and use of web based technologies.

In the Apple world there is the release of iOS with the usual refresh of the iPhone line up maybe along side a iPad refresh with a unlikely update of Apple TV refresh but then again there is a rumour of a Mac mini refresh but that has been doing the round for years so I wouldn’t hold but stock in it. Regarding macOS, that tends to be released slightly later but it’ll be interesting to see how it all performs with the focus on technical underpinnings in this release and whether we see less people complain about early adopter bugs being found. The big concern though that I have is how Safari trails behind Chrome in terms of standards compliance and although I understand the need to make sure that when standards are implemented they’re implemented in the most efficient manner, I can’t help but get the feeling that the dragging of feet regarding of standards has more to do with staving off PWAs than a genuine concern about the feature, the efficiency of that feature and how it impacts on power efficiency.

Regarding Safari in particular, what will be funny is what will happen to Safari use once support for the old API’s are removed which uBlock Origin rely on which many people use given that it doesn’t just block ads but it also blocks javascript based crypto-mining which can bog down and reduce the battery life of mobile devices such as laptops and tablets. So why don’t the extension vendors use the new API? they would if it didn’t have a limitation of 50,000 filter rules which sound a lot but in reality it is easy to hit the 50,000 limit thus making the new API unworkable (you can work around the limitation such as what 1Blocker X has been able to do but it is a rather inelegant solution. The solution requires a lot of leg work that I don’t think that the developers of extensions primarily focus on Chrome with Safari and Firefox being ‘a nice thing to provide’ rather than a core focus on their development efforts which is understandable – you go where the ball is and the ball is currently with Chrome).

Just before I head off, it is interesting to see that the AV1 format has been finalised and Opus adoption and development is picking up which makes me wonder whether we’ll be seeing a big push by Google with their own ‘properties’ to move over to royalty free open codecs (which benefits end users and their bottom line as well) – it appears that YouTube Music has already made that move to use AAC and Opus (link) so it’ll be interesting to see whether Google Play Music is officially killed off once YouTube has completely moved to AV1/Opus/h264/AAC for YouTube Music and standard YouTube.

Side note to the above: I’m currently paying for both Apple Music and YouTube Music/YouTube Premium but given that music is disappearing off Apple Music (I’ve reported it to the Apple Music twitter handle and no reply – do they even care?) it appears that YouTube Music is increasingly becoming a better option for me plus it’ll mean saving $14.99 per month by going with ‘one service that does it all’. I’m probably going to wait it out and see what happens particularly if there is some iCloud/iTunes announcements with the iOS 12 and iPhone/iPad refresh.

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