Improve Speed and Accuracy of Touch ID

I just learned a sweet way to improve Touch ID on an iOS device. This trick appears to actually increase the fingerprint information saved to your device, which results in both faster unlocking and the ability to increase the area of your fingerprint that Touch ID recognises. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode
  2. Ensure you only have one copy of each finger added. (I used to add my right and left thumbs twice to improve recognition. There is no need for this now due to this trick.)
  3. When the fingerprint you want to improve is added, simply rest that finger on the sensor as if you’re unlocking your device. You’ll see its name pulse grey to confirm recognition.
  4. Keep doing this, imagining the sensor taking a picture of your fingerprint each time it pulses grey. 

You can prove this trick works by immediately trying the very bottom of your fingerprint and seeing that Touch ID fails to recognise it. If you then try the centre of your finger and slowly work your way down, it will add the necessary data in steps until it detects your finger.

In typical Apple fashion, this advanced feature is only there if you’re looking for it. I’m glad it’s been discovered and I’m even more happy that I no longer need my thumbs added twice.

Samsung Captured 95% of Android Profits in Q1

As a platform, Android is quite poor by a surprisingly large number of metrics: New version uptake statistics are very slow — which isn’t helped by carriers. The paid app business on Android is generally considered bleak, too — even more so when directly compared to iOS.

(And remember that Google makes four times more money from iOS than Android.)

Groove for iOS

Gabe wrote a sweet review of Groove for iOS, a music player designed to be a different way to experience your library of tracks on iPhone or iPad. If music is something you enjoy, you might want to check the review out.

Groove is certainly miles away from iOS’s default music app, and as I’m a bit of a music nut, I bought it and am enjoying it.

It hasn’t replaced the Music app in iOS for me (I still use it for pre-made playlists), but it’s a nice addition when I want to be surprised. I consider Groove the iOS equivalent of a “Genius” style feature, wrapped up as an app. And, as that, it rocks.

Empowered by Apps

Shawn Blanc writes a fantastic article, which (annoyingly) nails a point I always find difficult to explain when discussing the way I work to others: It’s all about apps. Shawn can get his work done with just an iPad. But it wasn’t always like that:

When the iPad was new, many of us had ambitions of one day leaving our MacBook Pros at home and traveling only with our iPads. But, at least for me, that idea quickly faded away as I ran head-on into the fact that I just couldn’t get a lot of the work done on my iPad that I needed to do. The iPad was by no means useless, it just wasn’t the laptop replacement I wanted it to be.

But that was nearly three years ago. And, like I said, a lot has changed.

The solution? Apps.

I too was an early adopter of the iPad, picking up the first generation device on impulse in June 2010. Whilst I probably could work entirely using nothing else, I would rather use what I feel most appropriate: for me, that’s OS X.

To me, iOS is more fun to use than OS X — although that gap is rapidly shrinking. My iOS devices are my “treats”, once I’ve done some serious work on the Mac.

Create iPhone Ringtones on Your iPhone

If you’re anything like me, you bought GarageBand for iOS as soon as it was announced. It was initially iPad-only. Did you realise the app is now universal? If you’ve got an iPhone, you can install it there for free, too.

On top of that, here’s the guide for using GarageBand on your iPhone to create ringtones… for your iPhone. This is something I can get behind.

33 Expert Tips and Tricks For iOS 6

I learnt a few things whilst reading this. You might, too.

I especially like the Guided Access section on the second page: got any non-tech-savvy friends or relatives and want to stay in contact with them? How about an iPod touch or iPhone with FaceTime and Guided Access enabled? The possibilities are almost endless.

iOS Web Usage Over Twice as High as Android, Android Sales Numbers Called into Question

Daniel Eran Dilger, Apple Insider:

The fact that iOS is more than twice as popular on the web as all Android devices combined calls into question market statistics by research firms such as IDC, which recently stated that Apple's share of the tablet market had fallen to 43.6% of worldwide tablet sales. That report was presented by Adrian Covert of CNNMoney to state that "Android is the new king of tablet market share."

How does Android, with its reported huge sales and massive install base, make up for less than half the web browsing usage of iOS?

How and Why Consoles Will Die

This is a great article over at Kotaku, echoing the talk the author, Ben Cousins, gave back in March 2012.

I’ve viewed Ben’s presentation many times since March last year and every prediction and assumption made, as far as I’m concerned, is accurate. I see the mainstream future of gaming as mobile, with Valve taking up what’s left. And I like how the future looks.

Resizable iOS icon concept

One of my favourite features of Windows Phone 8 is the way tiles on the home screens of devices can be resized to show more or less information. This allows a user to increase the size of an app's tile (or icon) like Mail, in order to see new email messages right on the home screen of the phone, rather than having to launch the app.

iOS doesn't support widgets. For the most part, I think that's a good thing; widgets on Android can very quickly make the entire UI extremely ugly. However Max Rudberg, a great designer, has come up with a cool concept for how icons on iOS could become resizable in order to show more information than just an icon and allow easy access of common tasks without having to launch the app.

There is certainly a risk with a concept like this: how quickly could a device become ugly? What would be the performance cost of doing this? Would iOS start to feel slower because these "mini-apps" are running?

There are difficult design challenges, too: app icons on iPhone aren't the same size as app icons on iPad. This means the "widget" sizes across devices wouldn't be equal. Non-equal widget sizes for iPhone and iPad leads to more work for app developers and designers. With widgets enabled, the iPhone might lose the sense of simplicity it is otherwise known for.

There are certainly compelling reasons for widgets like the ones shown in Max's video. Being able to quickly turn on and off alarms from the clock app would be extremely useful.

It may make sense for just Apple's own apps to have this feature at first — they would be tastefully designed and a great example for how other developers could use larger real estate on the home screen. Eventually, all apps could implement the feature — however it may well have a separate review process to ensure the implementation is not ugly or slow. This could solve the "ugly" problem. Perhaps the complexity problem would solve itself: only users who knew how to increase an app's icon would ever see these widgets. That would keep the iPhone looking simple and beautiful for most people, like it is today.

Perhaps this concept could be implemented, after all. I'm not holding my breath, though. So far, the biggest deviation from a grid of rounded rectangular icons on iOS is in Notification Centre. Perhaps we're more likely to see a feature like resizable UI elements there.