Our DNA is written in Objective-C

Podcast #29 – “The New iPad has Landed”

Episode 29, recorded Saturday, March 17th, 2012.

New iPad finally in people’s hands, exciting updates for our favorite compiler and some problems arise for developers making magazine/catalog-style apps.


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iPad 3 Image Decompression Benchmarked

From the statements made at the iPad !!! launch event we assumed that the A5X must be a beast, shattering all previous benchmarks made. There are various kinds of measurements that you can take to compare the new iPad !!! to its predecessors. For one the raw CPU power seems mostly unchanged as judged by looking at Geekbench which measures Integer, Floating Point, Memory and Stream performance.

Then there is the raw graphics performance which can be gauged with the GLBenchmark, there you see the iPad !!! shine, or at least sparkle a bit. Apple apparently optimized the hell out of that, people expect at least the same fluid frame rates on Retina when playing games as the iPad 2 had.

But when are you actually interested in raw computing power or raw OpenGL graphics power? What we are more interested in is how fast the iPad can take a file on disk, decompress it and display it on screen. We previously did a comprehensive Image Decompression Benchmark to compare all iOS devices in this regard. We now have the numbers for the new iPad, so let’s compare!

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Licensing Fonts for Use in Apps

When Marco Armant talked about licensing custom fonts for use in apps I did a bit of research myself because I wanted to know the modalities available for us iOS developers.

There are many businesses based on licensing fonts for use on desktop machines as well as web apps. But just to get a general feeling about this I semi-randomly picked MyFonts.com. They also have a fabulous app called What The Font? on the app store that lets you find fonts by snapping a picture of some text.

The font business has not really cared much about apps so far, but now with a Retina display in the size of an iPad this becomes a viable target market for them, as developers are trying to get an unique look by offering great fonts for apps that you read something with.

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Linguan 1.0.5

I did a quick fix for Linguan after several users complained about the strict slash-escaping that we had introduced in 1.0.4.

Linguan un-escapes all texts it reads from strings files so that they can be displayed correctly. You don’t want to have to deal with backslashes in the editor. Now on writing I had thought it to be a good idea to also escape everything, including question marks, backslashes and single quotes. It was a bad idea to do that because this unduely changes the tokens and translations.

Translators (the sad kind without Linguan) would be confused by having to deal with lots of \’ in the text. And there where some reports of the localized string loading functions not being able to find the key. Not always, but this is clearly not what we wanted.

This update relaxes the escaping on writing to the extent that only double quotes and invisible characters are now being escaped.

Podcast #28 – “App Economy”

The new iPad further strengthens the foundation of the app economy, there are more iOS-related jobs than ever before and my guest on this show is Martin Pilkington who just sold an app to get his own app economy in order. And the latest -Gate in Apple’s history is Open-Streetmap-Gate.


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New Catalogs Section

For the longest time catalog apps where all over the place on the app store. Some in Lifestyle, some in Entertainment, some in the area matching the goods they are depicting.

In the past Apple has been known to establish a new section on the app store whenever the need for it becomes obvious. Remember, when they introduced the Books section? Or Newsstand?

Apple now has opened a new section titled Catalogs that aggregates all such apps. This is of special interest to us because of the multitude of digital catalogs that are built with our iCatalog.framework technology.

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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.

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SpeakerClock 1.1.2

This release fixes the crash on iOS 5 that I had in all my apps using the version of DTAboutViewController from before iOS 5 was released. I’m sorry for having procrastinated so long on updating SpeakerClock, but I had forgotten about this issue until a user reminded me of it via e-mail.

The update has been submitted to Apple and we hope to have it available on the app store in about 5 days.

Update March 10th: … and it’s approved and available for download.

Reading and Writing Extended File Attributes

The file systems of iOS and Mac both use HFS+ as file system, with only one small difference. iOS uses case-sensitive file names, Mac doesn’t by default. Both have a feature called “Extended File Attributes” that allow you to set custom values by key.

Apple generally ignored this functionality and it was only briefly – in 5.0.1 – that they actually used an extended attributed for something. The “com.apple.MobileBackup” extended attribute served as a stop-gap-measure to mark files that should not be backed up. Though this was very short lived.

I was facing the problem myself that I needed to save the ETag for an image that I downloaded from the web somewhere. And I wanted to do that elegantly, somehow together with the file itself and in a way that would simply work.

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ELO Digital Office GmbH releases iPad Version

For the past several months we were busily working on no small undertaking. Our client ELO Digital Office GmbH in Stuttgart, Germany (maker of the ELO digital document management system) wanted to present a super-charged iPad client just in time for Cebit. And that’s “ELO” as in “Electronic Leitz Office”, not “Electronic Light Orchestra” the band.

So today they announce immediate availability of the dedicated iPad version of ELO. It is a free download because to really use it you need to have their ELO server software. But you can still test drive the client because there is a test server available and pre-set when you download the app so that you can try it out for yourself.

The new ELO iClient for iPad is a ground-up rewrite of the client, designed to give users of the ELO server software the best of both worlds. Digital document storage, indexing and search via their powerful server. Touch-based interaction with a beautiful user interface on the iPad as users have to come expect it from Apple devices.

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