Home Screens: Rene Ritchie


This year at Macworld I finally got to meet Rene Ritchie (Twitter). Rene publishes iMore, one of the best sources on the web for Apples news, rumors, and tutorials. Rene does an amazing job of sleuthing out details for future Apple products and iMore does some really great tutorials. (Just this week they did a nice piece on iOS message archiving). So Rene, show us your home screen.


What are some of favorite apps?

Tweetbot and Twitterrific for Twitter. I use Tweetbot to triage @mentions and DMs and respond quickly while I’m out and about or working, and I use Twitterrific for reading the unified stream and linked content when I’m relaxing.

Launch Center Pro is the first third-party app to get on my Dock and stay there. It’s ability to launch actions instead of apps makes it an incredibly fast way to get everywhere I need to go, and do a lot of the basic things I need to do, without the mental overhead of hunting for a specific app, contact, or feature each time.

Fantastical for iPhone lets me enter events into my calendar with incredible ease and speed. It uses natural language, like Siri, but with text instead of voice, and that lets it parse and create stuff literally at the speed of type. Downside: my calendar is now fuller than ever. Jerks.

Dropbox stores my entire Mac documents directory and having it on my iPhone means I’m only ever a network connection and a few taps away from getting to all my stuff, at any time, any where.

1Password is the only way I can mediate the constant battle between convenience and security. My database lives in Dropbox so I can have strong passwords at home and while on the go.

Elements is how I edit text on iOS. It stores in Dropbox so it doesn’t matter where I am, I can pick up and keep working. I can even use Dictation to input ideas on the road. It’s my memory alpha.

Screens lets me VNC into my Macs from my iPhone or my iPad. That it works at all is magic. That it works in so simple, elegant a way is more than magic. (Science!)

The iMore app, self-serving as my including here may sound, is something I use constantly to keep track of the site I run and interact with my community I serve.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

Letterpress. That damn Loren Brichter has stolen more hours of sleep from me this year than any other developer. He also did it with yet-another trend-setting design, a delightful experience, and a system that doesn’t feel like it’s gouging or conning me.

What is the app you are still missing?

Whatever is next! I have a ton of great apps, many of which are incredibly clever ways to solve incredibly common or complex problems. But imagination is limitless, and I’m always on the lookout for even better apps that do things in even better ways.

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

Nearly constantly! When I’m out, I’m looking at it all the time, and when I’m home, it’s still how I glance at notifications. I might need an intervention. Not that I want one.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?

Simplicity. It’s beautifully yet unobtrusively designed and it powers fantastic software and services that are highly discoverable and accessible and have changed the way I live my life.

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

I’d like to see the next generation of user interface. We — every user of every device by every platform owner — are stuck in an era of pull data where we have to hunt down icons or widgets or apps to find our data and act on it. It’s time to jump ahead again. It’s time to go to push data. It’s time for our data to come to us.

I want actionable notifications where I can respond to messages inside the alert, or reset counters, or play/pause music, without switching apps or control schemes. I want inter-app communication so the stuff I need follows me where ever I am. I want a unified view of all my messages, regardless of whether they’re SMS, email, Twitter, or whatever, and all my schedules/reminders that are easy to get to and act on. And I want a simple, unified gesture navigation system to help me get around even faster. Demanding much?

Anything else you’d like to share?

Yeah, my Home screen is almost completely stock. Hi, I’m Captain Default, have we met?

Seriously, though, I have a bunch of devices for testing a bunch of different things, I restore them often, and I frequently use them to screenshot help articles. Default is the easiest way to always know what’s where.

Now if MacSparky ever asks for second screen shots…

Thanks Rene