Archive for the 'Apple' Category

Very thorough iPad mini review

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

This is one of the better iPad mini reviews I have read. The verdict: "Apple's new iPad mini is likely to become its most popular iPad, due to a light, thin design that delivers tablet optimized apps in a more portable package at a reduced price."

See on appleinsider.com

Speed matters

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

If you are with Vodafone and are in parts of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch you may be able to take advantage of their new ‘Dual Carrier’ (DC HSPA) network. This works with devices like the new iPad, iPad mini and the iPhone 5. Vodafone's spin is that DC HSPA+ is just as fast as "4G" – and tests performed so far indicate it is indeed pretty quick. Check out this video of an "unbiased" speed test.

You can read more about the new network on the Vodafone website.

I’m liking the looks of the new iPad Mini

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

The iPad mini is more than just a scaled down iPad 2 – it is has had the typical "fresh-look" approach that Apple brings to all products. It is larger than a Kindle or Nexus 7 with a 7.9″ screen, and more expensive with a starting price of US$329. It will be interesting how the iPad Mini competes with these products, although arguably they are aimed at slightly different market segments.

The iPad Mini has a dual-core A5 processor, a Facetime HD camera on the front and a 5-megapixel camera on the rear, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity, and 4G LTE cellular connectivity in some models. And it still offers up to 10 hours of battery life.

If you lug your iPad around with you everywhere, or typically hold it for long periods of time, the lighter weight and smaller size of the iPad mini are going to make it well … more mobile, more versatile, without compromising usability. The only downside I can imagine is that it will not be so good for reading PDF files if you do that a lot. I also wish it had the retina display, but the reality is that the screen should be slightly crisper than the iPad 2 as it has the same number of pixels packed into a smaller physical screen size.

Check out the details on the Apple website now.

A Developer Looks at iOS 6 and the iPhone 5

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

The release of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 has generated a lot of excitement, but the many new hardware and SDK changes can leave iOS developers feeling overwhelmed. This article is a nice summary of key changes in the iOS 6 SDK that developers should be aware of.

See on mobile.tutsplus.com

New Samsung Anti-iPhone Ad – Don’t Be Fooled

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

It's a clever ad Samsung is about to run in newspapers. A little misleading in the fact that it lists Galaxy S III specific features, but doesn't do the same for the iPhone. But of greater significance – I think this ad highlights what Samsung just does not get, or at least what they don't want you to get.

Steve Jobs always said "it is not about the hardware, it is about the software".

Sure Apples hardware is a thing of beauty, but it is how the software integrates with the hardware, and how intuitive it is, that makes it both a pleasure to use and a pleasure to develop for. It's not about how much RAM the device has – its about the experience the user has when using the device. The software dictates how efficiently the memory is used. That is why the iPhone packaging and marketing never lists how much RAM an iPhone has – it's not important.

In the past Apple's decision to limit their software to only running on their own hardware cost them big time. It was the single biggest factor leading to Microsoft winning the OS war. But that same decision is now at the heart of Apple's success. It is a company focussing on experience, in an experience-based economy. Users want, and expect, the overall experience of using a device to be intuitive, fast, and slick. That is where Apple is seriously doing well – it is what their branding is all about after all, and they are delivering. And that is also why developers are flocking to the iOS platform and are developing slick, intuitive, user-experience focussed apps that take the overall iPhone and iPad experience to yet another level.

And that is why Samsung's ad is so clever – it swings all the attention back to the hardware.

Don't be fooled.

Check out the new iPhone 5 video

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

The new iPhone 5 was announced this morning – 18% thinner, 20% lighter, taller 4″ screen (1136 x 640px), new A6 chip, faster connectivity, improved camera, mic & speakers. Same price-points as the 4S. Combined with the new iOS 6 it is a pretty slick package. Johny Ives does his usual enticing overview of the new iPhone.

See on www.apple.com

EverClip for Evernote – goodbye Pocket and Instapaper

Friday, September 7th, 2012

EverClip for Evernote

What a fantastic app! If you use Evernote and have an iOS device then this app is possibly a must-have. As you are reading emails, web-pages, rss feeds etc, simply copy content including images, and in the background the content is added to EverClip. Then when you are ready, switch into the EverClip app and approve each clipping to send to EverNote. And of course you could even send it to a Shared notebook in Evernote.

The workflow here is fantastic – just copy to the clipboard, and carry on reading. And this is from inside any app on your device – as opposed to tools like Pocket and Instapaper which require integration with an app to work. As a long-time Evernote user this will be replacing Pocket and Instapaper for me.

Also interesting is that this app is the first commercial app built with RubyMotion, a toolchain for iOS development using the Ruby programming language.

EverClip:
http://clip.ignition.hk

Evernote:
http://evernote.com

RubyMotion:
http://www.rubymotion.com

Apple ignores NFC technology and focusses on the new iOS 6 “Passport”

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Apple is likely avoiding Near Field Communications (NFC) – too many security implications. The new "Passport" feature in iOS 6 offers similar functionality without the need for special hardware. Passport is not an App – it is a framework, with the potential to enable developers to create tools for ticketing, payment/POS, loyalty cards and coupon systems.

The potential growth of iOS Apps in the retail sector is all good news for Apple. Whether other platforms can adopt a similar approach, or whether Passport might be handicapped by being iOS only, remains to be seen.

See on www.appleinsider.com

Apple wins major victory over Samsung

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

After a year of litigation, Apple has won a major victory against Samsung for violating patents and copying design elements of the iPhone and iPad. Samsung has been ordered to pay out over $1 billion US to Apple in damages.

It has been a very interesting case to follow, with several key members of Apple taking the stand and giving background information on prototype devices and design ideas that had not been revealed to the public before.

I must admit to being glad to hear that Apple won. I remember the first time my wife and I walked into Dick Smith Electronics and had a look at a Samsung Galaxy S – we both looked at the home screen and basic design and said "this looks like an iPhone". Sure, we liked the device, but we did think it was a bit rude. During the trial internal documents and emails from Samsung were released that proved this similarity in design was no accident. In the words of one of the jurers:

The e-mails that went back and forth from Samsung execs about the Apple features that they should incorporate into their devices was pretty damning to me. And also, on the last day, they showed the pictures of the phones that Samsung made before the iPhone came out and ones that they made after the iPhone came out.

See the similarity for yourself…

20120825-214016.jpg
Of course, the judgement will now be appealed by Samsung. And Apple is sure to follow up and request that several Samsung devices be pulled from shelves. So who knows what the final outcome will be, but there are some clear messages conveyed by the jury's decision. In the words of the jury foreman, Velvin Hogan…

"We didn't want to give carte blanche to a company, by any name, to infringe someone else's intellectual property".

The impact will be felt on the coming months by both Samsung and other manufacturers of Android-based devices who will want to steer clear of any similar design and patent issues.

Appcelerator Titanium :: Upgrading tiapp.xml to the newer format, and define custom Info.plist values

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

If you are using Appcelerator Titanium there was an interesting entry I noted in the version 2.1.0 changelog:

Support for custom Info.plist values in tiapp.xml. Many of the existing iOS-specific tiapp.xml values are deprecated in favor of the new values

There are two items of interest here:

  1. Many existing tiapp.xml values are now deprecated.
  2. I can now set custom key/value pairs in the tiapp.xml file and they will be inserted into the projects Info.plist automatically when the project is built. I no longer need to manually maintain a custom Info.plist file in my project to set key/values that Titanium did not officially support. Yay!

The problem is that there is no example of exactly what these entries should look like in a final working tiapp.xml file. A new project created in Titanium Studio still creates the tiapp.xml file using the older / deprecated format. Even the latest KitchenSink sample project, that has just majorly reworked for the 2.1.1 release, is still using the deprecated format.

Here is an example of a now deprecated style tiapp.xml file, which most developers are still using:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<ti:app xmlns:ti="http://ti.appcelerator.org">
    <id>com.appcelerator.helloWorld</id>
    <name>helloWorld</name>
    <version>1.0</version>
    <publisher>not specified</publisher>
    <url>not specified</url>
    <description>not specified</description>
    <copyright>not specified</copyright>
    <icon>appicon.png</icon>
    <persistent-wifi>false</persistent-wifi>
    <prerendered-icon>false</prerendered-icon>
    <statusbar-style>default</statusbar-style>
    <statusbar-hidden>false</statusbar-hidden>
    <fullscreen>false</fullscreen>
    <navbar-hidden>false</navbar-hidden>
    <analytics>true</analytics>
    <guid></guid>
    <iphone>
        <orientations device="iphone">
            <orientation>Ti.UI.PORTRAIT</orientation>
        </orientations>
        <orientations device="ipad">
            <orientation>Ti.UI.PORTRAIT</orientation>
            <orientation>Ti.UI.UPSIDE_PORTRAIT</orientation>
            <orientation>Ti.UI.LANDSCAPE_LEFT</orientation>
            <orientation>Ti.UI.LANDSCAPE_RIGHT</orientation>
        </orientations>
    </iphone>
    <android xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android">
    </android>
    <modules>
    </modules>
</ti:app>

Note the following issues here:

  • The persistent-wifi section is deprecated in 2.1
  • The prerendered-icon section is deprecated in 2.1
  • The statusbar-style section is deprecated in 2.1
  • The statusbar-hidden section is deprecated in 2.1
  • The iphone section with the orientation settings is deprecated in 2.1

So what should this look like? And how do we set custom key/value entries to be included in the Info.plist?

Here is a working tiapp.xml file using the newer format:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<ti:app xmlns:ti="http://ti.appcelerator.org">
    <deployment-targets>
        <target device="mobileweb">false</target>
        <target device="iphone">true</target>
        <target device="ipad">true</target>
        <target device="android">true</target>
        <target device="blackberry">false</target>
    </deployment-targets>
    <sdk-version>2.1.1.GA</sdk-version>
    <id>com.imattsolutions.equipd</id>
    <name>Equipd Beta</name>
    <version>1.3.0</version>
    <publisher>iMatt Solutions</publisher>
    <url>http://www.imattsolutions.com</url>
    <description>Mobile App for Ministry and Bible Study</description>
    <copyright>2012 iMatt Solutions</copyright>
    <icon>Icon.png</icon>
    <fullscreen>false</fullscreen>
    <navbar-hidden>false</navbar-hidden>
    <analytics>false</analytics>
    <guid>0fcd52a3-02b0-4b6a-aed6-we234522sf</guid>
    <android xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"/>
    <modules>
        <module platform="iphone" version="0.1.22">zipfile</module>
    </modules>
    <ios>
        <plist>
            <dict>
                <key>UIRequiresPersistentWiFi</key>
                    <false/>
                <key>UIPrerenderedIcon</key>
                    <true/>
                <key>UIStatusBarHidden</key>
                    <false/>
                <key>UIStatusBarStyle</key>
                    <string>UIStatusBarStyleBlackTranslucent</string>
                <key>UISupportedInterfaceOrientations</key>
                    <array>
                        <string>UIInterfaceOrientationPortrait</string>
                        <string>UIInterfaceOrientationPortraitUpsideDown</string>
                        <string>UIInterfaceOrientationLandscapeLeft</string>
                        <string>UIInterfaceOrientationLandscapeRight</string>
                    </array>
                <key>UIBackgroundModes</key>
                    <array>
                        <string>audio</string>
                    </array>
            </dict>
        </plist>
    </ios>
</ti:app>

Notice that all of the deprecated settings are now migrated to the new ios > plist > dict section, including an example of a custom key UIBackgroundModes that will be included in the generated Info.plist.

For a detailed description of all Info.plist keys, see the iOS Info.plist Key Reference on the iOS Developer Center.

You can read more about the specifics of the tiapp.xml file here.

I hope this helps developers convert their projects over to the new format – it certainly makes more sense long term to use this approach to setting custom key/value pairs in the Info.plist file that drives our projects.