Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

While working on the wording for another question, I wanted to refer to the parts of the Apple environment which are, by design, the same in Lion and in iOS 5.

For example, it is reasonable to expect that the available relationship types will be the same for iOS 5 Contacts and Lion Address Book. It is surprising that Siri understands son, but that iOS 5 Contacts knows only child; this is attributable to Siri's beta status.

For items that sync in iCloud, Lion and iOS 5 probably use a single canonical structure specification or separate structure specifications which are kept conformant by engineering discipline.

What is the name of the set to which these item's structures belong? Would one write "the iCloud address book entry format", "the Mac address book entry format", "the Winesap1 address book entry format", or what?


share|improve this question
The file formats are rarely the same between iOS and Lion, however the API to access them insulate the local storage instantiations of the data from the actual data content. Could you refine this to be more specific and perhaps answerable? What problem are you trying to solve here or is this hypothetical wondering how things are engineered? –  bmike Nov 15 '11 at 19:22
@bmike The very-answerable question is about the name, not about how things are engineered. I ask the question plainly in the first sentence of the last paragraph, and give example answers in the second sentence of the last paragraph. The problem I am trying to solve is given in the first sentence of the question: I want to refer to the parts of the Apple environment which are, by design, the same in Lion and in iOS 5. I see that I used the word "format" in my example answers, and the fact that this caused misunderstanding is evidence that my example answers are inadequate. –  Thomas L Holaday Nov 16 '11 at 0:14
I couldn't wrap my brain around what the bounds of "parts of the Apple environment which are, by design, the same in Lion and in iOS 5" means in practice. Good thing there are more people than me to help fielding your question. :-) I see serial numbers, network protocols, mail message formats, physical cord connectors, icon formats and much much more as design parts that are identical between iOS and OSX. It seems quite broad to me without some more bounds to frame what besides contact info you seek, but I'll sit back and see what others besides Tom come up with for an answer to your query. –  bmike Nov 16 '11 at 0:22
@bmike, what if the name were Winesap? Then you could write something like "Winesap defines a HumanBeing entity, which the user manages by Address Book, Contacts, or Contacts; the HumanBeing.Relationship property can take values from an enumerated list, including son, daughter, or child. Any application which deals with human beings must handle these values in order to be Winesap compliant. Winesap does not have "second cousin once removed" as a relationship type; if your application permits this relationship, expect it to be lost when synching with iCloud, iOS 5, or Lion." –  Thomas L Holaday Nov 16 '11 at 5:34
@bmike, beyond contacts Winesap might include entities for Songs (presumably something much like the iTunes metadata), for Printer options, for a Keyring, for Locations, for Calendars (including repeating events). At the time I'm writing this, I cannot create an every-weekday event using iOS 5's calendar, but I can with Lion. Is iOS 5 not Winesap-compliant, or is Lion using Extended Winesap? –  Thomas L Holaday Nov 16 '11 at 5:50

1 Answer 1

I happen to be writing a book on iCloud now, and I've had to deal with some of these issues. It's instructive to note that although the respective applications on Lion, iOS 5, and the iCloud Web site are Address Book, Contacts, and Contacts, respectively. They all are containers for one thing, which they use the same terminology: Contacts.

I do not plan to use the terms you suggest above; rather, I am saying things like "entering contacts in Address Book," "entering contacts in Contacts," "changing contacts on the iCloud Web site." It's the context that matters, since the set of data is the same, and enforced by syncing.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.