Our DNA is written in Swift

The new iPad !!!

Apple today announced the new iPad, no suffix. Because of this we have decided to use 3 exclamation marks to tell it apart from the iPad 2. Oh wait, it didn’t say iPad 2 on the box either … looks like not everybody had gotten the “drop the number” memo last year. This time, they did.

So what are the news? Not so much of interest for us developers.

The new A5X (X for “Extreme”?) is a dual-core CPU with 4 GPU-Cores which are necessary to drive the @2x resolution (2048×1536). That still means that using GCD for background processing is a safe bet to make good use of the 2 CPU cores. But for manipulating graphics you will want to trust CoreAnimation and CoreImage which are most certainly optimized to make full use of the broader rendering pipeline for the GPU part of the System-on-a-Chip.

Oh and 4G LTE. Since LTE is designed to be a world standard it should work with all carriers that have upgraded their network. The Austrian product page mentions all 4 of Austria’s carrier as being compatible.

There – finally – is an update to the Apple TV !!! hockey puck. It can now handle 1080p movies and if you have bought anything on iTunes it will be upgraded to 1080p. Looks like AirPlay still only supports 720p though which might be because current WiFi bandwidth cannot handle 1080p.

The one thing that I see really falling on some people’s heads will be the extra amount of space that is needed if you want to have all pages of – say – a magazine as PNG images. That’s 4 times as much. Having 500 MB in a non-Retina-magazine (e.g. Wired) would easily need 1.5 to 2 GB. The amount of pixels might have quadrupled, but last time I checked my Internet connection still sucked.

One way around the waiting time for magazines is to have them on newsstand, because then they get downloaded in the background, while you sleep. Apple accidentally leaked information that there was a new Catalogs section on iTunes. Maybe – just maybe – there will soon be a newsstand for Catalogs as well? Or at least all these apps (40 of which use my iCatalog.framework) could be grouped together in one sections on the app store?

Warning: PDF will not cut it anymore

Either way I think that everybody betting on images needs to reevaluate their approach. We don’t know yet if PDF rendering can benefit from the new GPU with a factor of 4 as well. I fear not, because the format by itself is a collection of drawing instructions. I might be wrong but I suspect that this will still be mostly done on the CPU and only the compositing will happen on the GPU. There are only three feasable ways forward:

  1. A PDF renderer that is using OpenGL shaders needs to be invented (or I am wrong)
  2. Text will be drawn with CoreText, e.g. with my DTCoreText open source project to cut down on transmitted data
  3. Downloading is completely decoupled from the UI to avoid having the user face the pain of having to wait for content

Finally iOS 5.1 has also been released just now. Since Apple is only pushing this via OTA update there were no release notes to be found at the time of this writing. The only item I remember from the BETA days were the new dictation APIs that you now can use to have voice input everywhere you like.

Some developers reported that their Xcode 4.3 downloads the 5.1 SDK automatically when they launch it. I have not been able to verify that as of yet.

Since there are no actual new technologies to speak of  right now, and WWDC probably being only 3 months away, we can safely assume that Apple has saved all the cool stuff for iOS 6. And since this is already showing up in some big website’s server logs that will probably be the hot topic this summer.

Categories: Apple

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