This week’s home screen post features Ian O’Flaherty (Twitter) (Website). Ian is the developer of Trial Pad (App Store) and Transcript Pad (App Store). Both of these apps are essential to me in the day job and I’ve met Ian several times at various technology conferences where I’ve observed him obsessing over making some of the best legal software out there. So Ian, show us your home screen.
What are some of favorite apps?
Besides the obvious bias towards my own apps, TrialPad and TranscriptPad,Keynote is a favorite. It can assist anyone to create great looking presentations. I use Keynote not only for presentations, but also to create fully functional mock-ups of new app ideas, or to see how a new user interface element might look within one of my existing apps. I thinkGoodNotes is one of the better note taking apps, and is ideal for my needs. Besides note taking, I use it to bring in screen shots of apps to draw on and sketch various user interface changes or ideas, especially with its shape recognition mode. My RSS reader of choice is Mr. Reader as I like the way you can organize and skim through your feeds, and I’ve recently started usingPocket to save interesting articles to read later when I have more time. I have tried various podcast apps but keep coming back to Apple’s own Podcasts to listen to great podcasts, such as Mac Power Users ;)
Which app is your guilty pleasure?
I’m not a fan of social media because I constantly see it used in an unintended spirit in legal proceedings. Everything you say (i.e. type) on any social media can, and will, be used against you if you ever find yourself in a courtroom. Having said that, I do use, and have a twinge of guilt, every time I open Instagram. I like the simplicity of just sharing a photo and comment with my family which is strewn around the world. And my teenage daughter has taught me that crafting the perfect caption is just as important as composing the perfect photo if you want to get the right number of “Likes”.
What is the app you are still missing?
A calendar app! That may sound strange considering how many beautifully designed calendar apps are available. I’ve bought most of them, and each has certain strengths, but I keep reverting back to Apple’s Calendar app. I feel all the calendar apps could offer more, such as the ability to hide certain hours in the day or week views (e.g. midnight to 5:00AM) unless I have an appointment during that time. Maybe there’s one out there that I just haven’t found yet, or maybe a calendar has such a personal requirements that no one calendar app is going to satisfy all users.
How many times a day do you use your iPhone/iPad?
My iPhone is always with me, and my iPad isn’t far behind. I always have my wallet and phone with me, but if I forget one as I leave the house I’d have to turn back for my iPhone. I can buy a coffee at Starbucks with my iPhone, but I can’t call anyone, check my email, or get driving directions with my wallet.
What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?
I can’t pin it down to just one feature. I believe the ability to access your data or work, while being mobile, gives me a better work/life balance. I can zip through a dozen emails while in the waiting room at the pediatrician. The iCloud integration that’s permeated so many apps that I use every day has been key to being able to get things done. Starting something on my Mac, and having it available to read, add to, or edit on my iPad or iPhone is invaluable. This is only going to get better with the new handoff feature coming in iOS 8 and Yosemite which will take it to another level. And Siri, in combination with the Reminders app, is another favorite feature. Just being able to tell Siri to “Remind me to…when I get home/leave the office/at a certain time” is such a convenience.
If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?
Being at WWDC again this year and meeting so many smart and talented Apple engineers, designers, and segment managers, makes you realize that anything you’d want to add or change has already been thought of and already is in the works, or has been dismissed for reasons you didn’t even know you should have considered. However, I’d like it if Apple allowed developers to charge upgrade pricing (not for minor updates or bug fixes) as opposed to forcing us to coming out with a new version of an app or utilize in app purchases in order to have a recurring revenue stream. This is particularly important in specialized apps meant for very narrow verticals. The fact is that there’s a growing professional app space, and niche professional apps don’t have the massive audience of game apps, maybe a Professional category for truly professional apps?
What’s your wallpaper and why?
My lock screen changes constantly to feature my wife or children when they have a birthday or special event, but the wallpaper on my home screen is plain old black. I like the way the text for the app names pops, and the icons are shown with a negative background so I can quickly find what I’m looking for. You may have noticed that my apps are all in alphabetical order because I like to have a logical reason for their placement. I only have two screens on my iPad, so if an app doesn’t make it into the twenty on my home screen it’s placed into organized folders on the second screen. I’m not a swiper.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Having owned a Mac since 1989 (a Macintosh IIcx), and having spent a brief stint on the dark side (Windows), it’s great to see the innovation coming out of this iconic American company. Also, my family tries to make Sunday a “no tech day” so that we don’t turn into that family you see at a restaurant who are together physically, but engrossed in their iPhones, seemingly finding better company and conversation elsewhere.