Home Screens - Ted Landau

At Macworld I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite Mac writers, Ted Landau (twitter). Ted is prolific with a regular stream of articles for Macworld, the Mac Observer, and several other journals. He also has a blog. The next time you see Ted at Macworld, make sure to say, “hello.”

So Ted, what’s on your homescreen?

What is your favorite app?

I don’t have a single favorite app. If I consider what app I use the most — beyond the basics of Safari, Mail, Phone and Twitter — it would have to be Maps. It serves so many purposes — from getting directions to finding nearby stores to getting phone numbers — and more.

I am still wowed by the best of the new crop of apps designed specifically for the iPad — such as ABC News, NPR, Pulse News and Flipboard. They showcase how the iPad can be so much more than merely a large iPhone or a laptop alternative.

But when it comes time to show off my iPhone or iPad to someone who doesn’t yet own either, I typically start with Google or Dragon Dictation. The ability to speak into the iPhone and have Google display your requested search results — or to have Dictation convert your speech into text — it’s like Star Trek come to life.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

I don’t feel guilty about any the apps that I use. Maybe if Steve Jobs allowed pornographic iPhone apps, I’d have something to feel guilty about. As it is, no.

However, there are several games apps that I regularly play that blur the line between having fun and wasting time. I especially like games that I can quickly pick up, play for a few minutes, and then quit if needed. That’s one reason that Angry Birds has long been one of my favorites. In contrast, I have never been able to get into role-playing or similar “long-term” games.

How many screens have you filled?

On my iPhone, seven. But that’s with several folders containing multiple apps. With folders, I would easily be in the double digits.

On my iPad, it’s six. I’m more selective about what I put on the iPad. With very few exceptions, I don’t install any apps that have not been optimized for the iPad’s larger screen.

What is the app you are still missing?

If you mean what app is currently in the App Store that I don’t yet own but would like to own — the answer is none. At least none that I am aware of. If it exists, and I know about it and want it, I get it. This is made easy by the fact that most apps that I want are either free or very low cost.

If you are asking what potential app that does not yet exist would I most like to see, I would have to say a great text editor for the iPad — one that would allow me to write articles without causing me to gnash my teeth while doing so. Nothing I have tried, from Pages to Documents to Go, fills the bill here.

It may be that such an app will have to wait for further refinements of the iOS itself. In that regard, I can think of many improvements I would like. At or near the top of the list would be a split-screen option, so that I can have, for example, Safari and another app viewable at the same time.

How many times a day do you use your iPhone/iPad?

Dozens. For many routine tasks, from checking weather to looking up movie times, I prefer these devices (especially iPad) to my Mac.

If you were Steve Jobs, what would you add to the iPhone/iPad?

If I were me, with my own agenda, and I had the power of Steve Jobs, I would give up trying to block jailbreaking. Even better, I would formerly set up a separate “advanced” mode for the iOS that would allow open access to the device — at the user’s own risk. As it is, the more popular iOS becomes, and the more it appears to be dominating Apple’s future plans, the more concerned I get that iOS only permits installation of apps approved by Apple.

On the other hand, if I were Steve Jobs, with what I perceive to be his agenda, I’d be doing pretty much what he is already doing. It’s hard to argue with the level of success Apple has had since 2000. Still, I’d be concerned about Android — in the rear view mirror but catching up fast. I’d be working on what Apple needs to do to maintain its lead. I’m sure he is.

Thanks Ted!