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Dr. Touch #012 – "iPad Aftermath"

A week after Apple announced the iPad the dust has begun to settle. Dr. Touch explores what the iPad really means for us developers.

This episode is brought to you by:

Dr. Touch’s Parts Store – easy to use yet professionally looking components that you can use to spruce up your own apps. Augmented Reality, Calendar Control, Pin Lock or Purchase Button are only some examples. You get full source code, no static library crap, and lifetime support by Dr. Touch himself. Check it out today!

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My Show Notes (aka Script) below the break…

News

Obviously the biggest news is that Apple has officially unveiled their top secret new device. It is named iPad in contrast to previous rumors that it would be called iSlate. It is basically building on their experience with iPhone and Aluminum Unibody form factors to make a tablet that promises to blow away the competition in the niche between Smartphone and MacBook. Here the rationale behind the iPad, I could not sum it up better than Steve Jobs himself:

6:48 – 9:02 of iPad Presentation

The multi-touch tablet that is the iPad is supposed to be great at all the tasks mentioned, give you 10 hours of battery live, over a month of standby. Almost all iPhone apps that are currently on the app store will run on the device. That’s either in native resolution in the center of the display or if you touch a 2x button in the lower righthand corner all pixels are doubled horizontally and vertically. That’s sort of a compatibility mode.

iPad apps can also have a native display mode and there Apple forces developers to make their apps work in all orientations. They say that the user does not really care about the home button and regardless if which way he holds the iPad he expects to see a useful UI.

To demonstrate that the iPad can also be used for getting work done Apple also announced a version of each iWork application that is specifically remade for the iPad. Pages, Numbers and Keynote will be available for $10 each. There will also be a multitude of accessories. You can output the 1024*768 resolution to a monitor or projector via VGA-cable. You can connect a keyboard via a specific dock.

Finally Apple told us the price point for the iPad which ranges from $499 for 16 GB and Wifi to $829 with 64 GB and 3G. This is way below what the pundits thought Apple would charge and will make iPads affordable for very many people. The models without 3G will be shipped around April, with 3G one month after that.

With a device that was as much anticipated as the iPad of course there are some people who are very disappointed in the offering:

  • it does not run OSX
  • there is no Flash and it is unlikely there will ever be
  • there is no USB or SD-Card slot
  • no camera, therefore no video conferencing

But bear in mind that nobody has actually used an iPad so all these rants are just venting of unmet expectations.

After the iPad announcement Steve Jobs held a townhall meeting at the Apple headquarters in Cupertino. Wired reports some interesting details:

Two of the biggest topics included Google and Adobe.

On Google, Jobs confirms the much-reported competition between the two companies.
On Google: We did not enter the search business, Jobs said. They entered the phone business. Make no mistake they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them, he says.

As for Adobe, Jobs said they are lazy and Jobs blames Adobe for a buggy implementation of Flash on the Mac as one of the reasons they won’t support it.
Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy, he says. Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it’s because of Flash. No one will be using Flash, he says. The world is moving to HTML5.

MacRumors has some more leaked infos:

  • Apple will deliver aggressive updates to iPhone that Android/Google won’t be able to keep up with
  • iPad is up there with the iPhone and Mac as the most important products Jobs has been a part of
  • Regarding the Lala acquisition, Apple was interested in bringing those people into the iTunes team
  • Next iPhone coming is an A+ update
  • New Macs for 2010 are going to take Apple to the next level
  • Blu-Ray software is a mess, and Apple will wait until sales really start to take off before implementing it.

A good question is: what is this Apple A4 chip that powers the iPad? OSNews reveals that it’s in fact not just a CPU but in fact a system of a chip meaning that it combines CPU, Memory Controller and all other parts necessary. The Apple A4 consists of an ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore, the same processor that powers the NVIDIA Tegra and Qualcomm Snapdragon. The graphics unit is a ARM Mali 50-Series. The key thing to note here is that this is all mostly ARM IP; Apple and P.A.Semi have little to do with it. Since Apple doesn’t have its own chip factory, this thing is produced by Samsung.

That’s it for iPad News.

Despite rumors that Apple has halted production of 27″ iMacs due to intermittent display flickering they still published a firmware update. It’s Called “27-inch iMac Display update” and carries version number 1. The description reads “Updates the display firmware on 27-inch iMac systems to address issues that may cause intermittent display flickering.” Let’s hope that this solves the problem, I have been lucky to not experience any of the reported display glitches.

Apple releases new iTunes Version 9.0.3 to address some minor glitches. Do you remember that iTunes kept forgetting your password for purchases even though you selected the checkbox to remember it? This update is supposed to fix that. Other fixes address certain stability problems.

Even though there already is a 3.2 SDK available for getting your feet wet developing iPad apps, Apple has published version 3.1.3 with several security fixes and improvements. Besides of being more secure against malicious things they fixed something about the battery level on 3GS which seemingly had been misrepresented. Also something about third-party apps not starting. Maybe this addresses the problem that I’ve been having, that sometimes you could no longer build&debug an app from XCode. We’ll see.

Apple wants to remind you that CoreLocation is a nice method to add additional value to your apps. Though they also mention that there has to be a benefit to the user when he is asked to provide location information. There seem to have been quite a few apps that only need location information to provide this info to advertisers. Such apps will be rejected by the app store review team. So if you don’t use CoreLocation for anything in your app, then be sure to disable location information in the API so that the user does not get this dialog.

Apple has been building their web version of the iTunes Store mostly focussing on music first. Now they also added web-based views for apps. So if you take one of the http URLs you get from iTunes by right-clicking on a link, this now does not forward to iTunes, but instead you arrive at “iTunes Preview” which looks almost identical to the store page. If you still want for people to go directly to iTunes instead of the web version you have to use itms instead of http in the URL.

Command Guru wrapped The iPhone Reality Show. In this show 10 developers from all around the world designed and made an iPhone app from design to shipping it in only 7 days. The episodes of the show are available in iTunes and online. On the website you can also download full source code.

Opinion

My guest in this episode is Andreas Heck, maker of the Super Trumps Card games for iPhone.


Categories: Podcast

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