Matt Gemmell

CHANGER is available now!

An action-thriller novel — book 1 in the KESTREL series.

★★★★★ — Amazon

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro

personal & briefly 1 min read

I previously published some first-look photos of the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro. I’ve used the machine for a week and a half, and I understand it better now. Things — and people — are ill-served by complex and lengthy reviews. Ultimately, an iPad is a technically sophisticated object that aspires to conceptual simplicity. My thoughts are correspondingly brief.

This new iPad Pro looks and feels the same in the hand as the previous one. The screen area is noticeably larger, with a greater sense of space, but that’s a digital rather than physical difference. Responsiveness is also perceptibly better — when scrolling, switching apps, and using the Pencil. It’s visibly brighter, too. Touch ID is faster. All that stuff is readily apparent.

The 10.5-inch model isn’t really a different size from the 9.7”, though. Apple long ago chose the most comfortable balance of portability and an expansive canvas. This one has an active area that’s closer to its ideal physical size, and a responsiveness that’s closer to a natural, direct-manipulation, chameleonic device.

This is the same iPad that Apple keeps making and refining. It’s just the truest one so far.

iPad Pro 10.5-inch first look

tech & ipad-only 2 min read

This article is part of a series on going iPad-only.

If you’re a maker of iPad apps that my readers would be interested in, you can sponsor this site for a week.

My wife surprised me with a new 10.5” iPad Pro for my birthday, and I thought I’d share some photos and brief thoughts about it after a few hours of playing around. Note also that I’m thus selling my beloved and nearly-new 9.7” iPad Pro, and you should buy it!

The first thing that struck me about the 10.5” model is how thin the bezels along the longest sides are.

iPad Pro 9.7" for sale

development, tech & ipad-only 2 min read

My wife surprised me with a new 10.5” iPad Pro for my birthday, so I’m selling my 9.7” model. It’s only eight months old, in fantastic condition, and includes some accessories too. It’s an amazing machine if you want to work on an iPad full-time, or if you’re a developer who wants to get ahead of the game in supporting the new iPad-specific features in iOS 11. All the details are below.

Summary: iPad Pro 9.7” gold, 128GB, wi-fi, still under warranty, latest iOS. Boxed, complete, mint condition. Plus Logitech Create keyboard case, and a couple of extra cases. About £520, plus shipping. If interested, please fill in this form.

The Other Shoe

tech & ipad-only 6 min read

This article is part of a series on going iPad-only.

If you’re a maker of iPad apps that my readers would be interested in, you can sponsor this site for a week.

The other night, we sat and watched some of the Apple WWDC 2017 keynote; mostly the parts pertaining to the upcoming iOS 11, and the new pair of iPad Pro devices. Digesting the keynote’s news after the fact has become a ritual for my wife and I. We very rarely watch TV, so it’s a fun and novel experience for us to have something playing in front of us while we discuss it together.

As someone who works exclusively on an iPad, it’s difficult to express just how relieved and enthused I was at the preview of the next version of the operating system.


design & blog 1 min read

Despite having many developers amongst my readers — who presumably use a desktop or laptop most of the time by necessity — the majority of visitors to this site are using mobile devices. That’s true for the web in general, too.

When I redesigned the site in 2014, I messed it up in what’s probably a common way. I designed for the desktop first (mistake 1), then I added media queries specifically for iOS devices (mistake 2), and then I tweaked the CSS to present a design tailored to those devices (mistake 3). You live and learn.

Nintendo Switch

personal & briefly 1 min read

Growing up, we were primarily a Nintendo household — though we did have the occasional Sega or Sony machine too. My formative gaming experiences were with Link, Mario, Samus, et al. Fast forward three decades, and while I haven’t had as much time with it as I’d like, the new Nintendo Switch is a nigh-ideal machine for me at this point in my life.

I couldn’t care less about tech specs; I play games for a story, and/or distraction. What the Switch has is both portability and the option to use it with a TV, each as first-class experiences. A choice of control schemes that includes both the traditional supplicant-pose, wrist-kinking joypad, or the (much more comfortable) Wii-style split input — with even smaller and lighter controllers.

It has a touchscreen for fast menu navigation, but not as a compulsory, slippery, imprecise input mechanism. A trimmed-down UI that’s meant for gaming, not being a media centre. And lastly, it’s a handheld with a big screen, to suit my broken and rapidly ageing eyes.

It’s a synthesis of compromises that nevertheless feels like a cohesive and intentional design, and I find that damned compelling.


tech 3 min read

No company has done as much damage to the perceived value of software, and the sustainability of being an independent developer, as Apple.

Not that other companies wouldn’t have done the same thing — they would have. It’s just that Apple was the successful one.

A few more words

personal & briefly 1 min read

Ten years ago today, before nine o’clock on a Saturday morning, Lauren and I ascended Arthur’s Seat here in Edinburgh. Truthfully, I ascended it, and she struggled to keep up with me — not from any lack of fitness, but rather my own frenzied pace.

I was hurrying due to nervousness, and a desire to be up there, overlooking the city, before many others made the climb. Mercifully, we were mostly alone, I said some words which immediately vanished from my memory, got down on one knee, and asked her to marry me.

A decade later, I want to mark this anniversary with a few more words of appreciation for my wife. She’s my best friend, my hero, my inspiration, and the love of my life. She impresses me every day, and I don’t know who I’d be without her. She brings joy and comfort to me, and there’s no-one I’d rather share this journey with. I’m not entirely sure why she’s with me, but I’m not going to risk asking.

She’s a software development manager, programmer, chef and baker, reader, writer, gardener, gamer, tailor, runner, wonderful doggy-mummy, and my constant teammate. I’m so grateful for her presence throughout my life, and how she’s shaped who I am for the better.