Online Swift Training

This event has now passed! But there’ll be more in the future! If you want to learn Swift, check out our brand new book: Learning Swift.

Online Swift TrainingSuper awesome! Next week we’ll be running live online Swift programming training through O’Reilly Media. You can learn more and sign up over on the O’Reilly Media site.

The gist of it is: you’ll join us live online for a day of Swift programming, where we’ll teach you the language, how to use it for iOS (or OS X) programming, and where to learn more. Everyone will get a video of the training afterwards, as well as an ebook copy of our brand new Learning Swift book.

Reality Distortion Field has never been so strong

The following quotes from from Daring Fireball. Emphasis is mine.

It’s best to think of Apple Watch as having two modes: watch mode, and app mode.

You do not need to understand this to use the watch. Most Apple Watch owners will never really think about this. But this idea of two modes is central to understanding the design of the overall interaction model.

Then, further on in the piece:

Watch mode is where you take quick glances at information and notifications; app mode is where you go to “do something”.

Watch mode is where most people will spend the majority — perhaps the overwhelming majority — of their time using Apple Watch. App mode is a simple one-level hierarchy for “everything else”.

It’s so simple, he needs to dedicated a 1,500 word post to explaining how simple it is, and (apparently, possibly) more than 12 hours of cumulative podcast:

I have no idea what’s going on, but I don’t like it. Especially when you compare it to past commentary.

An unnecessary product

The Apple Watch deeply confuses me. On the one hand, I love the idea of a tiny wrist-mounted computer that I can write software for. It’s the sort of thing I’ve wanted since I was a child. On the other hand, Apple’s explanatory and marketing copy for the Apple Watch are unconvincing at best (e.g. “They let you do familiar things more quickly and conveniently. As well as some things that simply weren’t possible before.“), and completely bizarre at worst (“Apple Watch represents a new chapter in the relationship people have with technology“), and the product itself is not what I expect from Apple.


It’s complex to set up, it’s slow and unresponsive a lot of the time, and the learning curve is substantial. I’ve had the opportunity to play with a few watches. The good bits are:

  • it’s beautifully made
  • the strap (the plastic one) feels amazing
  • the digital crown is beautifully engineered and implemented in software
  • it has a nice weight (the sport model)
  • the development environment and frameworks are great and powerful; I really love WatchKit, and I think that over the next few months we’ll see some beautiful Apple Watch apps (even more once it can do native apps) – coding for it is like building something for a science-fiction gadget

Some of the bad bits are:

  • it’s ugly
  • the strap (the plastic one) is hard to put on (and gave me a rash, but I’m not sure what the deal is there – I don’t have a nickel allergy)
  • the digital crown is superfluous, and I’m using it as a button and nothing more; scrolling with the screen is easier
  • the battery life is abysmal (I got to 40% after ~5 hours of almost no usage)
  • the “wrist raise”, where it turns on the screen to show the time when you lift it does not work for me at all
  • third-party apps take forever to launch, and forever to do anything; it would be quicker to take the phone out of my pocket and use that in almost every single case
  • apps are mostly pointless and confusing
  • the UX is confusing and unintuitive

When Tim Cook announced the Apple Watch, he described it as the next chapter in Apple’s story. If this is the next chapter in Apple’s story, then it’s probably time to stop reading since the book just got clunky to use, hard to understand, and really unnecessary. I’m disappointed, because I’ve spent years telling people that Apple products are better because, well, they were better, and I’ve always been convinced that Apple users didn’t just buy things because they were trendy. The flaws in the watch product, and the outpouring of gibberish from Apple fans and commentators has done a lot to convince me that fanboys are pretty awful.

I’ll post more about the watch in a few days, once I’ve had a chance to think more. I’m looking forward to my Pebble Time arriving next month.

Into the bin, Apple Watch!


What’s happening at the Secret Lab?

Swift Development with CocoaWe’ve posted an update on what we’re up to so far in 2015 over on the Secret Lab blog: check it out!

You can find info on the video webcasts on Swift and Unity that we recentlyUltimate Swift Programming presented, as well as the new Ultimate Swift Programming videos we made for O’Reilly (it’s been a hive of video production and post-production in Hobart!)

Our newest book, Swift Development with Cocoa, as well as the Ultimate Swift Programming videos we created, are available at O’Reilly’s website.

Swift Development with Cocoa

The new book that I co-authored with Jon Manning and Tim Nugent is now available from O’Reilly Media. Swift Development with Cocoa covers programming for OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 using Apple’s new language. It’s getting great reviews, and it was a lot of fun to write.

Swift Development with CocoaThanks to our editor, Rachel Roumeliotis, for continuing to put up with us, as well as everyone else at O’Reilly who helped with the book. And thank you to our fabulous tech reviewers!

You can buy the book at O’Reilly, or Amazon, or at your favourite technical book-selling-place. It can also be read online via Safari.

Battery life


“It’s almost impossible to believe, but during our initial tests, using the iPad pretty heavily, downloading and using lots of new apps, doing some 3D gaming, watching HD video, all the while getting email downloaded in the background, we got just about what Apple claims this device will do. In fact, it went a little better — we managed to get 10 hours and 43 minutes of life out of the iPad before we had to plug it in again in our first run through. That’s pretty crazy endurance considering what we were doing with it.” – Engadget’s iPad review, 3 April 2010


“The bad news is that some compromises were made — specifically in the area of battery size … the [iPad] Air 2 squeezed out 11 hours and 15 minutes…” – Engadget’s iPad Air 2 review, 21 October 2014

Swift Training – Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane

Hi all!

Swift Developer Lab by Secret LabWe’re going to be running a 1-day Swift Developer Lab in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane in the coming months. These labs are designed for existing iOS developers to get up to speed with Swift development for iOS 8.

You can learn more about the labs over at Secret Lab’s training page. Tickets are available at $250 (which is half price) until 10 November 2014. We’d love to see you there!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me: paris AT