Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Comprehensive list of 3D Touch actions

With iPhone 6S Apple introduced a pressure sensitive display, a feature called 3D Touch. However, at the time it seemed like the integration was not fully implemented, making it seem like a gimmick, although I have quickly learned how to make the most use out of it. Personally I find that it has changed the way I do things on my phone dramatically and even more so with iOS 10 because with the new update — which is set to launch on Sept 13th — 3D Touch is extended well beyond what we were previously using it for. In order to put it in perspective and emphasize what a big of a deal is and will continue to become, I’ve decided to make a comprehensive list of all the things you can 3D Touch now for quick actions, previews and hidden features in iOS. The list only includes stock apps and stock features.

Home Screen

  • On app icons for
    • Quick Actions (iOS 9)
    • A Share Link for that app (iOS 10)
    • To pause or prioritize download of an app on install or update
  • On app icons for widgets (iOS 10)
  • On folders to rename and see which apps have notifications (iOS 10)
  • On incoming notifications to expand (iOS 10)
  • On Spotlight App Suggestions icons for their quick actions (iOS 10)
  • On most Spotlight results for quick previews or actions
  • 3D Touch on left hand side screen edge forFMuis
    • Quick app switching with a right swipe (iOS 9)
    • Opening App Switcher with a firm press (iOS 9)

Lock Screen

  • Live Photo Wallpapers to see full captured moment (iOS 9)
  • Rich Notifications Pop (iOS 10)

Notification Center

  • 3D Touch notifications for expanded view and rich notifications (iOS 10)
  • × Button on Notification Center for “Clear All Notifications” option

Control Center

  • Flashlight icon for different intensities (iOS 10)
  • Timer icon for quick timer set-up (iOS 10)
  • Camera icon for quick jump settings (iOS 10)




Stock Keyboard

  • 3D Touch for to turn the keyboard into a trackpad for quick text selection or cursor movement (iOS 9)
  • 3D Touch backspace button for quick text deletion (iOS 10)


  • Peek Zoom to activate zoom with 3D Touch (See slide 12 here for how to activate it)

App Store

  • App icon on home screen for Quick Actions (iOS 9)
  • Within the app on app icons for quick preview of the app (iOS 9)


  • App icon on home screen to copy last result (iOS 9)


  • App icon on home screen for Quick Actions (iOS 9)
  • App icon on home screen for Up Next widget (iOS 10)
  • 3D Touch on specific dates in Month view to see events for that day and the following days (?)
  • Peek & Pop on events in list view and on specific dates view for quick info (?)


  • App icon on home screen for Quick Actions (iOS 9)
  • Peek & Pop on the last taken picture for a glance at the most recent taken pictures (Bottom left-hand corner) (iOS 9)



  • App icon on home screen for Quick Actions (iOS 9)

Find Friends

  • App icon on home screen for
    • Quick Actions (iOS 9)
    • Find Friends widget (iOS 10)
  • Peek & Pop on any friend in the list for
    • Quick preview of their location (?)
    • Quick actions for them with a swipe up (?)
  • On the map on any friend icon for their location (iOS 10)


Find iPhone

  • App icon on home screen for Quick Actions for your device(s) (iOS 9)


  • App icon on home screen for Quick Actions (iOS 9)
  • On any card-like measurement for quick preview over a longer period of time (iOS 10)


  • App icon on home screen for Quick Actions (iOS 9)
  • Peek & Pop within app on
    • Downloaded books and PDFs
    • Books and Audiobooks in the Books Store for quick preview

iCloud Drive (new in iOS 10)

  • App icon on home screen for Quick access to documents (iOS 10)
  • Peek &Pop on files within the app for quick content preview

iTunes Store

  • App icon on home screen for Quick Actions (iOS 9)
  • Peek & Pop for quick preview on any
    • Music Album / Compilations
    • Film artwork
    • TV Programmes
    • Tones bundles or tones by artist/topic (wherever there is a list of 2 or more tones)




  • Mail icon on home screen for:
    • Quick Actions (iOS 9)
    • Mail widget with contacts who’ve emailed you recently (iOS 10)
  • 3D Touch an email from the list for
    • Peek & Pop for that email (iOS 9)
    • Quick actions – setting as “Unread” or “Deleting” an email – with swipe right and left while Peeking (iOS 9)
    • More actions with a swipe up (iOS 9)
  • Peek & Pop links and photos in emails (iOS 9)
  • Recipient icon/photo in individual email view for Quick Actions (iOS 10)




  • App icon on home screen for
    • Quick Actions (iOS 9)
    • Maps Destination widget (iOS 10)
  • On any POI marked on the map for more info (iOS 9)
  • On any place suggested by the app when first opened for quick actions (Directions/Call/Open website/Share) for that place (iOS 10)
  • On any search result for quick actions (Directions/Call/Open website/Share) for that place (iOS 10)


  • 3D Touch on individual messages for Peek & Pop (iOS 9)
  • Peek & Pop on images, videos, links (iOS 9)
  • Peek & Pop on highlighted information like flight numbers for flight check (iOS 9)
  • 3D Touch on Contact photo/initials for more options to contact that person
    • From message list view on single and group conversations (iOS 10)
    • From individual message view on top bar (iOS 10)
    • From details page
  • 3D Touch on phone numbers, emails for quick contact actions (iOS 10)
  • Peek & Pop on rich links (iOS 10)
  • 3D Touch while using the Handwritten Messages feature for thicker strokes (iOS 10)



  • App icon on home screen for:
    • Quick Actions (iOS 9)
    • New Music Widget with Recent Played songs/playlists (iOS 10)
  • Peek & Pop on playlists to see contents (iOS 9)
  • Playlists for quick actions (iOS 10)
  • Songs for quick actions (iOS 10)
  • Search results for quick actions for that particular result (iOS 10)
  • Videos for quick actions (iOS 10)
  • Links in Connect Posts for Peek & Pop (iOS 10)


  • App icon on home screen for
    • Quick Actions (iOS 9)
    • News widget (iOS 10)
  • Peek & Pop within app on news, publications and topics icons to
    • Quickly preview them (iOS 9)
    • Action on them with a swipe up (iOS 9)
  • Peek & Pop on categories list items for quick preview


  • App icon on home screen for
    • Quick Actions (iOS 9)
    • Most recent note preview widget (iOS 10)
  • Notes in the notes list view (iOS 9)
  • Attachments (photos, videos, links) in
    • Note view
    • Attachment view
  • 3D Touch while drawing/handwriting a note for thicker strokes



Phone & Contacts

  • App icons on home screen for
    • Quick Actions (iOS 9)
    • Favorites widget (iOS 10)
  • 3D Touch within app on contact names and recents for quick actions to contact that person


  • App icon on home screen for
    • Quick Actions (iOS 9)
    • Recent memories widget (iOS 10)
  • Individual photos and videos for
    • Quick glance/preview (iOS 9)
    • Quick actions – with a swipe up (iOS 9)
    • Live Photos to see full captured moment (iOS 9)
  • Memories for:
    • Quick glance at pictures included in that memory (iOS 10)
    • Quick actions for that memory -with a swipe up (iOS 10)
  • People in the People Album for quick action for that person (iOS 10)


  • App icon on home screen for
    • Quick Actions (iOS 9)
    • Upcoming reminders widget (iOS 10)
  • Within a card list of reminders, on individual reminders for quick actions (?)


  • App icon on home screen for Quick Actions (iOS 9)
  • Peek & Pop
    • Within app on your podcasts (in the list view – My Podcasts tab) for quick preview (?)
    • On podcasts icons throughout the app for quick preview


  • Peek & Pop on links, reading list items, bookmarks, shared links (iOS 9)
  • Peek & Pop on open tabs for a quick preview of the whole page (iOS 9)


  • App icon on home screen for Quick Actions (iOS 9)
  • 3D Touch setting (to set and test firmness)


  • App icon on home screen for
    • Quick Actions (iOS 9)
    • Stock widget (iOS 10)
  • Peek & Pop on any news about a company (iOS 9)



  • App icon on home screen for
    • Quick Actions to access tips (iOS 9)
    • Tips widget (iOS 10)

Voice Memos

  • App icon on home screen for Quick Actions (iOS 9)


  • App icon on home screen for Quick Actions (iOS 9)
  • Peek & Pop within app on apps icons that offer apps for Apple Watch (?)


  • Quick Actions (iOS 9)
  • Weather widget (iOS 10)
  • In app on any city in the list for quick weather preview for that list (iOS 9)




Note: Some of these actions are also possible on iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil, due to the technical specs of the Pencil which can detect how hard it’s pressed against the screen. For instance, the Notification Center × Button to “Clear All Notifications” option can be performed with the Apple Pencil.

If you believe I missed something or I’ve mistakenly labeled a feature to the wrong iOS version do let me know.

“?” denotes uncertain if the feature existed in iOS 9 or was introduced with iOS 10.

Featured image shows rich notifications actionable by 3D Touch in iOS 10 Lock Screen (Source: apple.com)

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The ultimate Apple I/O death chart →

[…] You can see that all of the heralded “Apple kills X” products like the iMac really just set the stage for Apple to slowly transition various tech out of its lineup. So while the iMac killed ADB, SCSI, and the floppy drive, Apple still shipped all those things in various other (mostly pro) machines for another couple years, because it had lots of customers who wanted those things. That gave the market for USB devices time to mature — creating temptation for those same pro customers to upgrade to newer machines that could take better advantage of all those USB devices.

Nilay Patel (author of the controversial “Taking the headphone jack off phones is user-hostile and stupid“) came up with a chart of I/O things Apple obsoleted over time. The “death chart” is quite interesting. As he observes, most I/O standards last about 15 years. If we put this together with other things Apple “killed” over time (like Flash*, which is worth mentioning), it should offer a perspective of the company’s vision of the future.

Moreover John Gruber mentions the Ethernet port is missing from that chart. Both Macbook Air & Pros lacked Ethernet for awhile now. Macbook laptops’ battery life is one of the best I’ve seen in laptops, so having a truly portable, cable-free laptop that can last for a whole day is a great achievement.

The more I think about it, the more I realize the trend isn’t just toward eliminating ports on devices — it’s about reducing the number of cables you use.

John Gruber

Read Gruber’s comments here: http://daringfireball.net/linked/2016/06/29/patel-io-death-chart

However, I do agree that if you replace something, you need to come up with something better. Time will tell if killing the headphone jack outgrew its convenience and ubiquity. Let’s give it a few years, shall we? After all, they haven’t killed it yet.

*Steve Jobs dismissed Adobe’s solution in his piece “Thoughts on Flash”. He called out Flash for being a major battery drainer on mobile devices, as well as its reliability and security. As it turns out, he was right. It’s 2016 and everyone hates Flash. If we think of laptops as mobile devices too, it’s easy to see why with macOS Sierra, Flash will be disabled by default.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

A Perl toolchain for building microservices at scale

The guys at Semantics3 explain how they came with a workflow that was tuned for micro-services and capable of scaling up with the team. Here are the problems they needed to address:

  1. Each code artifact (a library, script or service) should be owned by one engineer. It should do one thing and one thing only (Unix philosophy).
  2. Each code artifact must be checked in to its own VCS repository and must have tagged releases with semantic versioning.
  3. The experience of authoring a code artifact must be both seamless for an individual developer and uniform across the team with tooling present to take care of scaffolding boilerplate code, identifying dependencies, packaging, testing and releasing. The tooling available should enable a single engineer to own multiple code artifacts easily.
  4. Private libraries that we write must be installable from services in exactly the same way that third-party libraries are.
  5. Each code artifact must declare its dependencies (code and environment) explicitly i.e. clean contracts. Ideally, any developer must be able to run any script/service on their development environment easily.
  6. An engineer’s development environment must be as isolated as possible so that we don’t step on each others’ toes.

Why Perl?

Comprehensive article explaining why Perl (a question I’ve received a few times myself as well) and how they managed to resolve their issues using Pinto, Minilla, Carton, Perlbrew, Github and Mojolicious. In my job I use Plenv instead of Perlbrew, however they address the same problem. One thing I came to realise over the last year is Perl is a lot more present and capable than many think it is. Look at many solutions hosting providers offer, for instance, cPanel. That is Perl. Moreover, glad to see Mojolicious making the cut, as that is my go-to framework now. And I like it so much that I’ve decided to write a Beginner’s Guide for it. More on that soon.

Monday, 20 June 2016

iOS 10 Photos App

Behind Apple’s Advanced Computer Vision for Photos App→

Photos app recognises and distinguishes the following 7 facial expressions. Expressions are distinguished after forming a “faceprint”. These distinction are used for searching. They are also rated and indexed for generation Memories and montages.

Greedy, Disgust, Neutral, Scream, Smiling, Surprise, Suspicious

Photos app will generate Moments that falls within the following 33 categories. Default name of the moment will be automatically generated using metadata from the photos and tags from analysis of photos.

Memories from areas of interest, Best of past memories, Memories that break out of routine, Celebration in history, Contextual memories, Crowd, Day in history, Holiday in history, Location of interest, Nearby, New contextual memories, New memories, Person’s Birthdays, Person’s memories, Recent events (calendar, crowd, holiday, people, person, social, trip, weekend), Region of interest, Social group memories, Sometime memories, Special memories, Favourited, Trips, Week in history, Weekend, Year summary, Last week, Last Weekend

Kay Yin

I’m impressed to see what the Photos app is able to generate and distinguish, only computing data locally. The Photos app is also pretty accurate when recognising faces and objects. This compliments nicely the memories it is able to put together in nicely theme-matched videos. In addition to the above, Kay also provides a complete list of things the Photos app can be queried for as well as the categories to which they belong to. This list will continue to grow over time and it could easily be part of OTA updates. As Craig Federighi said in John Gruber’s The Talk Show (53:40)

There is this idea that if you don’t have the data, how would you ever learn? As it turns out, if you wanna get pictures of mountains, you don’t need to get it out of people’s personal photo libraries.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

First impressions of the new Apple TV

First impressions of the new Apple TV 4 after I played with it for 2 hours

I really wanted to give the new Apple TV 4 a test drive and for those who didn’t have a chance to play with it, here are my impressions after fanboying about it for awhile and spending two hours in an Apple Store playing with it.


The new Apple TV 4 is a great piece of hardware, a lot smaller than I imagined it to be, although I know it’s thicker than the older generations. Siri is great and really capable, except when it’s not. The true potential on this new device is the Siri universal search and the apps and I can see how this can and will become a great asset to go along your TV.


I put Siri through a lot of stress tests. I asked her many many questions and I came to the conclusion that movies and TV shows/series wise, it does about 70% of what you’d expect it to do. But it still isn’t what you want it to be. Examples: I asked Siri to Show me movies with Kristen Bell. It was successful. First movie that showed up was Frozen. Really loved Frozen, but there were a few animated movies in that list so I decided to get rid of them. Not the animated ones – well here is were basic logic falls apart. Instead of filtering and showing me just live action movies, Siri showed me JUST the animated ones. There were also multiple instances when I said Just the action movies or Just the highest rated ones and she understood Does the action movies and Does the highest rated but I will blame my accent and the loud noise in the store for that. Another example is while looking at a TV Series card like Mr. Robot I asked Who stars in this. To my surprise it came with with I don’t have this information right now, although if I swiped down a bit I could see the cast. Or asking for Sci-Fi TV series (with Sense8 or Orphan Black in mind) got me the same I don’t have this information right now. Specifically asking for Sense8 got me I want to watch sensate which again failed so I had to pause between sense and specifically say eight for it to catch it and show me Sense8. Asking for Movies with Meryl Streep worked fine, but I wanted to see the highest rated ones. That again got me I don’t have ratings for these movies or something similar along the lines.

On another hand Siri is pretty good at getting you at the right episode with a particular actor. The Apple employee demoed a few like Show me the Friends episode with Danny DeVito and it worked like magic. Or Show me BBC Sherlock which is on Netflix and it opened the Netflix app at the right screen for me to start playing it. It is also pretty good when you ask for movies in which star multiple actors Show me movies with Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway correctly showed me The Devil Wears Prada.

So great potential, really enjoyed trying lots of things with Siri, but still lacks context at times. Also wish it was able to perform searches on Apple Music. But that’s coming. The Apple employee also mentioned that they will also introduce a feature to ask “Who is that?” while a movie is playing and Siri will be able to tell who the actor is, but as all Apple fanboys know this is not confirmed or even not even a rumor and we might not see this until maybe next year with tvOS 2. It might also have been to convince some people to buy it, or just his personal opinion. I wouldn’t take this as a certain thing that will happen.


Well, there were just 16 apps or so to play with and I tried them all. I couldn’t download more from the App Store as it said it was a Demo Unit. I love to cook and travel so the AirBnB and Kitchen Stories look amazing on TV. Craftsy looked like a nice thing to do in your weekend as a family activity and for those who are nerds and geeks (maybe like me) and love comic books Madefire is absolutely stunning. Reading comic books like that is a fantastic experience. Beat Sports didn’t quite catch me, but this guy says it’s great fun.

But what really stressed me out was how unintuitive was to input my email and password on the Netflix app by just using the remote. Awful! I really hope they will update the remote app to support typing in using the iPhone because I can see how this can cause a lot of stress.

Another interesting point is I am surprised how many apps are already available for the Apple TV, given it’s only been a week since they launched it. But the frustration comes when you’re searching for them or when you want to discover new apps. The App Store looks nice, but it lacks categories, and searching for apps that you don’t know exists is actually frustrating. I know this has been mentioned before though. Maybe with more apps coming up they will introduce categories too and hopefully Siri App Store search.

First impressions of the new Apple TV's user interface
User interface is stunning, but can be improved | Source: apple.com


I really love the UI, and the nice effect you get when you hover over app icons. It’s not just a nice touch, it’s mesmerizing and fun. It’s parallax and it shines and it’s very satisfactory to feel it at your fingertips. The screens for showing movies info and the cards are also very nice. Transitions are nice too.

But sometimes you wish it supported 4K and the movies info cards were better. For instance I was looking at movies with Meryl Streep and decided to check out the August: Osage County and the Sandra Bullock in the back was so pixelated. I was standing fairly close to the TV, but it wasn’t that, it just looked like a very compressed JPG image. And I think that’s a bit unacceptable. The App Store had app cards but unlike on the iPhone and iPad some rows you could see you can swipe to see more, but some didn’t. So I had to guess I am able to swipe on that row to get more of the same Apps. So a bit of inconsistency there.

Overall, really liked the UI though.

Siri remote and extra controllers

Siri Remote
The Siri Remote is nice, but not the only thing you need | Source: apple.com

The small Siri Remote is great, small and comfortable, but it takes a little getting used to it and I was a bit afraid it would slip. Shadowmatic is a lots of fun, once you get how to play with it and rotate things using the edge of the remote. I think most of you know, but maximum number of devices you can pair with the Apple TV is 3. First is the Siri Remote, and 2 extra devices, either iPhones or any MFi controller. Playing Asphalt 8 was pretty nice with the remote, but the when I tried Breakneck I felt the remote was either not calibrated or the app not properly optimized. WAY TOO sensitive when it shouldn’t be and a lot of late input when it should have been quick. I hope it’s not the sensors in the remote though.

Once you get used to the fact that the MENU button also acts as back button and the TV button is like a Home Button on the iPhone, but for the TV, the whole interface is quite easy.

Personally I think it’s a very nice toy to play with, but given that I barely watch TV and I only have a Netflix subscription, I wouldn’t get it for myself, at least not at its current state, and not for £129/$169. Perhaps with time, the apps will increase its worthiness as a casual games console. Also I just wanted to point out that I am by no means an expert or a reviewer whatsoever, just an Apple fanboy with great expectations and a pretty tech savvy person. Let me know what you think.