Home Screens: John Siracusa


John Siracusa (Twitter) is one of my favorite people on the Internet. In addition to his legendary Mac OS reviews, John writes for Ars Technica and his podcast, Hypercritical is on that short list of shows where I never miss an episode. John's insight is just too good to miss. John also blogs on his own Hypercritical Tumblr site. So John, show us your home screen.


Q: What are some of favorite apps?

I spend most of my time in iOS in three apps: Twitterrific, Safari, and Instapaper. While reading tweets, I send interesting links to Instapaper for later reading. I use the Gmail web interface in Safari to read my email. I actually prefer that to the native Mail application. It feels like it loads my considerable volume of email faster.

Q: Which app is your guilty pleasure?

I feel somewhat guilty every time I play Words With Friends and see the embarrassing, persistent bugs and the annoying in-game come-ons to purchase more stuff. I tried the official Scrabble app, but it was even worse. I'm sure there are other, better alternatives, but Words With Friends is where my friends and relatives play, and it's hard to dislodge them.

Q: What is the app you are still missing?

I'd really like a native iOS email client that works great with Gmail and feels faster than the Gmail web interface. Google's own Gmail app for iOS is just the web UI in a fancy wrapper. I have it installed, but it isn't drawing me away from Gmail in Safari. I had high hopes for Sparrow, but then Google bought them and stopped development.

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

I don't actually have an iPhone (though my wife does). I have an iPod touch and a retina iPad with 3G. I use the iPod touch several times in the morning and during the day. I gravitate towards the iPad at night, for reading longer items in Instapaper and watching video—usually in the HBO GO app, which stubbornly refuses to support AirPlay.

Q: What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?

My favorite feature of the iPod touch is how thin it is. My wife's iPhone 4S feels like a bar of soap compared to my iPod touch. My favorite feature of the iPad is its battery life. I go days without even thinking about charging my iPad, even when watching hours of video every night.

Q: If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?

I'd add iPad-style cellular data support to the iPod touch and update its internals to match the best in the iPhone (camera quality, RAM, CPU/GPU, and so on). I'd also make a cheaper, lighter, smaller iPad, and I'd start thinking about a larger, more expensive iPad.

Q: Anything else you'd like to share?

Even on an iPhone 4S or a retina iPad, iOS still feels slow to me. I hate waiting for apps to launch or for web pages to render. And I really hate it when an app is killed in the background due to RAM constraints. I can't wait for iOS hardware to get a couple of times more powerful than it is today, so things like browsing the web, reading email, and checking Twitter can all comfortably happen simultaneously without any heroic resource shuffling efforts by the OS.

Thanks John.