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Category Archive for ‘Apple’ rss

Visiting Apple

A trip to San Francisco is incomplete if you are not paying a visit (and your respects) to the Apple Campus as 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino. It is situated next to an exit of the 280 freeway but far away from any other sensible public transportation. So a car is a must.

I was lucky to have my colleague Sam rent a ZipCar for the trip and drive me out there, i.e. from Downtown San Francisco to Cupertino which is at southern base of the peninsula. Apple employees have shuttles swarming all around the SF area, but we pedestrians have to either rent a car or find somebody who is willing to drive us.

Apparently several Apple employee follow me on twitter and take notice of my quibbling. So I was quite excited to be invited for lunch on the campus. The Cafeteria “Café Mac” is about the most amazing food court I’ve ever seen. Outside they where making fresh Pizza, inside you’d find Pasta Sushi, fully customizable Buritos, ice cream and many more choices which I did not take notice of, because I immediately settled on Buritos.

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For a Fist Full of Apples

Last week and today Apple revealed several new iterations of mobile hardware. Let’s have a brief look as to what those mean for us developers who depend on Apple hardware both for our customers as well as to do our development on.

Generally speaking there was nothing truly revolutionary in it for us on either of these days. Is Apple stabilizing and focussing on were they are truly raking in the money? You bet.

No more revolutions, I fear.

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Apple Subscriptions

The hot button topic these days is Apple’s “new” subscription service and the conditions they are enforcing on it. Not only are they drawing harsh criticism from publishers for not letting them have all the users data (to be sold to advertisers), they are also catching fire for driving poor Readability out of business (or from the app store).

What’s forgotten in all this commotion is that the truth of the matter is far from all the buzzwords. As usual the lack of actual news from Cupertino is prompting the big tech blogs to bash Apple a bit, citing “sources from the publishing industry”. What the pundits even like better is when developers write something to be linked to, like the Readability guys are doing in an open whining letter to Apple.

Usually I prefer to ignore this link-baiting and attention-deficit-syndrome. If developers think their work gets to little attention then they start ranting publicly hoping to be heard and the major public outcry persuade Apple to give in. I’ve been guilty of that myself at times.

But in this blog post I want to explore why Apple has every right to what they are doing. I fully support their message.

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Macocalypse Now!

Being an iOS-only developer as of yet the launch of the Mac App Store did not really stress me too much. On the contrary, I loved the experience on my mobile devices and I’m glad that Apple is now achieving what Microsoft has failed with for several years with the “Windows Marketplace” store.

Update Jan 7th: I get tons of requests to explain how to do certain iOS things on Mac. Sorry, but I am just as a noob in this area as the next guy. But I am sure, as I will dip my toe in the now much bigger Mac pool, many a tutorial will be forthcoming by yours truely.

Read on for my initial experience and some thoughts about what this means for us iOS developers.

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The Future According to Apple – Predictions 2011

I should actually be sitting down to put the finishing touches on an update to one of my apps, but somehow I have these visions in my head of what our iOS-Future will look like.

So in true Getting Things Done fashion, I compiled them into a list for your shared excitement, just so that I get them out of my head and I can move on to finally being productive in this new year.

I’m not saying that these are premonitions, but they might very well be. Read on to see how exciting our year with Apple will be.

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Apple Music Event, Everything iOS!

The question that we developers are always asking ourselves after such an Apple event: “what was in it for us?” There are the highlights relevant to us:

  • iOS 4.1 release is imminent, if not today then this week. GameCenter being released, update your games! Ah and you don’t need any HDR app any more, the iPhone shots 3 images at the same time and combines them. Groovy!
  • iOS 4.2 coming in November, for all devices being able to run 4.x, but the main focus is to bring all the 4.0 niceties to iPad: Multitasking, Folders, etc. And the best new feature for productivity apps: Wireless Printing!
  • There are 230,000 iOS devices being activated every day, NOT including updates. Steve kind of hinted that the number that Google mentioned is not really honest in that regard.
  • The new iPod Nano is square indeed and clearly runs iOS. For the time being Apple does not give us ability to code apps for the small screen, but that might be coming eventually.
  • New iPod Touch is now an iPhone 4 without the phone. Retina display, Gyroscope, A4 Chip. Even more reason to update your artwork and add a 2x version for all images. And since the iPod Touch now has two cameras any apps making use of AV capture devices has a way bigger audience
  • New Apple TV is now at a price point reachable for everybody. The previous Apple TV was running an old OSX version, this new version clearly is iOS based, also because it has an A4 chip. But just like the Nano, no third party apps (yet?). It does not have storage though, so where would you store apps?
  • One of the new things in iOS 4.2 will be AirPlay which allows HD videos to be streamed from you iDevices straight to your AppleTV. Do we see a wireless UIScreen that we can do the same from our apps in 4.2?
  • New social music service directly in iTunes 10. You see which music your friends like. How about adding the same for apps?

So half of the news is great for us, more iOS devices that we can develop for with new tech. And more iOS devices that we WILL be able to develop for. Everything points to Apple wanting to keep enough news to themselves to not over-excite us iOS developers.

BUT! (one more thing) I foresee another Apple event happening at the beginning of 2011 filling all the above mentioned holes.

Apple Store Down

Update: of course I meant to say that the “Apple Store” is down, not the “App Store”.

Every time the App Store Apple Store goes down the world gasps with excitement. New Macs? Any hardware refreshes?

Here’s a script that you can execute at the command line that will notify you as soon as the store is back up. I found this script here and modified it to use the built-in say command instead of growlnotify which I did not have.

#! /bin/bash
 
until [ 1 -eq 2 ]
do
        echo -n "Checking ..."
        MYVAR=`curl -s http://store.apple.com/us | grep backsoon | grep australia`
        if [ "$MYVAR" == "" ]
        then
                if [ ! -f "/tmp/storeup.txt" ];
                then
                        echo "UP!"
                        say "The Store is up!"
                        echo "1" > /tmp/storeup.txt
                        exit
                fi
        else
                echo "down"
        fi
 
        sleep 10
done

To use it just paste this script into a file storecheck, make it executable and run it in terminal. This runs an endless loop and as soon as the store is up will say “The Store is up!”.

iOS 4.0.1 Bar Analysis

Being the experimenting kind I took screenshots of my iPhone 4 status bar before and after updating the software/firmware to 4.0.1.

In the Unofficial Apple Testing Labs (which double as my house) I have my summer office in a “back room”. This is at the back of my house due to lesser temperatures. So I was able to test a high db as well as a low db scenario. Note that this is regular GSM/EDGE connections, I don’t get 3G where I live.

The “Death Grip” was performed by cupping the left hand around the bottom of the phone making sure to touch the black strip with the base of my thumb.

You can actually feel how much stronger the reception is with fewer bars. See how much larger they are? :-)

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iPhone 4 Landing in Austria

It’s one of these days there the arrival of a new and shiny Apple toy is diminishing productivity to zero. My iPhone 4 arrived at lunchtime and so I spent my afternoon unboxing and setting up my new iDevice.

I had purchased a black 32 GB iPhone 4 on Apple’s UK store. The kingdom is a tier 1 country which got it at the same time as the US. What’s also great is that the empire’s Apple online store sells the variant without SIM-lock. A necessity if you want to be able to use the iPhone 4 as a phone in your home cellular network. Since I ordered Apple added this paragraph to clarify this:

When you purchase your iPhone from the Apple Online Store, you’ll get it SIM-free. So you can sign up for service with the carrier of your choice and change your carrier at any time

My friend Michael Kaye in London purchased the phone for me (32 GB for 599 GBP) and shipped it via parcel service to Austria. This cost me another 60 pounds, but I had insurance and tracking. The latter was kind of weird, because the original carrier Parcelforce handed off the package to FedEx and so I got incomplete and somewhat strange tracking info. But fortunately it turned out fine.

I’m unboxing the iPhone after the back, check out my YouTube video!

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SteveNote (Quasi) Live

Like every good follower I shall be glued to my big iMac to listen read the latest news from Steve Jobs when he takes the stage at the WWDC 2010 keynote. Somebody called my a “FanBoi”. But I’d rather be a FanBoy than a Fan of a Boygroup. ;-)

Apple is always extremely protective of their resources. So they just won’t exert any efforts in streaming the event but rather post a stream a couple of hours later on apple.com and add it to the Apple Keynotes Podcast even a few hours after that. But that does not mean that you have to wait for the info. The web is your friend.

UPDATE: Send me your Skype name. We’ve established a skype chat channel and there’s already a lively conversation in progress.

Here are some sites that have a proven track record (for me) of relaying what’s going on. I will plaster my 27″ iMac and my 15″ MacBook Pro with these.

  • Engadget live – Great Live Blog with Photos
  • Gizmodo Live – Usually head to head with Engadget on the frequency of updates and photos
  • TWIT Live – Leo Laporte is broadcasting live and if there’s any live video or audio then he’ll get it
  • MacRumors.com Live – they formatted their live bloggingsite ideally for iPhone/iPad

Other Liveblogs (as recommended by Gizmodo) to take your pick from: gdgtArs TechnicaWiredTechnologizer,NYTMac Life, and Apple Insider.

I won’t be making an effort to relay the info, because so many other people are doing that. But I’ll be making notes as to which things are of especial interest and importance to us iPhone developers.