Tag Archives: sdk

What's Your Favorite Feature of iPhone OS 4.0?

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I recorded an interview with a local radio station – and given that they’re likely to edit my thoughts down to 10 seconds of sound bytes, I thought I’d record my side of the conversation and save it for posterity.

Likely the biggest new development is the ability to multitask. The way that Apple has handled it is somewhat different than what other mobile carriers have given us. You’ll be able to run any type of application “in the background”. If you’re browsing the web and want to listen to your Pandora station you can do that now!

Another thing you’ll see is the ability to customize the wallpaper on your homescreen as you can on the iPad. This provides you with more options to make your iPhone (or iPod Touch) your own.

We’ll also see better organization in the new Folders. You can group apps together so that you have a much cleaner screen, and you can find things much easier. Theoretically, the devices will now be able to support over 200,000 apps.

We’re also going to have the ability to “gift” apps to friends and family members. If I have a wish-list of apps that I want, my family can just buy them for me!

This was just a short wrap-up of the new features in iPhone OS 4.0. I wrote a much more detailed post earlier today to discuss what’s coming in this iteration of the operating system.

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Apple iPad Finally Makes Its Debut!

The long-anticipated “tablet” from Apple is now official! I’ve held off on making assumptions and guesses prior to the official announcement today. There was just TOO MUCH HYPE already on the Web – much of it laughable. I had my own ideas, of course, as to what the iPad would include, and I’m happy to say I wasn’t too far off! This slick, gorgeous little device is sure to make a lot of people very, VERY happy. However, there are some drawbacks that I see, as well.

The device has a 9.7 inch display, weighs only 1.5 pounds, and is only half-inch thick! It’s powered by a new chip, a 1GHz A4 (Apple’s very own). You can get one with 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB worth of space. It supports Wi-Fi, has an accelerometer, and has a built-in speaker and microphone. The screen is a full multi-touch (capacitive) screen. Battery life is purported to be a whopping 10 hours. In addition to Wi-Fi, it will have a 3G option from AT&T.

Therein lies the first gripe. AT&T? Seriously, Apple? AT&T has had enough problems handling 3G with just the iPhone and iPod Touch. Why do we have to be forced to use them for 3G service yet again? I can guarantee you that a whole lot of people are going to be very unhappy about that part. Heck, I’m already reading things from some people, claiming they won’t even bother with the iPad, simply due to this. A vocal minority, I’d assume.

Another huge gripe is the fact that the iPad does not come with an SD card slot, nor a USB port. However, you can of course purchase a separate adapter for SD media reading (their Camera Connection Kit). People want, need, and EXPECT their portable devices these days to have those two very basic features out-of-the-box. They don’t want to have to shell out even more money for adapters to make things happen.

The biggest omission is… a camera. Why they didn’t put one on the iPad is a little beyond me. Price and service are what largely separate the iPhone from the iPod Touch – but this is nowhere near a notebook replacement without a camera. A Kindle replacement, yes – an iPhone replacement, no. It’s an iPhone with a bigger screen.

On the upside, the price tag is far better than many expected it would be. The WiFi-only version, with 16GB of memory, will cost $499. The 32GB version will be $599, 64GB will be $699, and with 3G from AT&T, it will cost up-to $829. The good news on the 3G front is that you won’t need a contract. You’ll sign up for a monthly plan (cancel anytime). You can choose a measly 250 MB of data transfer for $15.00, or an unlimited plan for $29.99. That pricing – on both fronts – is a whole lot better than what I had figured it would be.

Another great piece of news is that nearly all of the existing iPhone apps will work on the iPad immediately. Apple also released a brand-new SDK today, so that devs can get busy creating new apps specifically for the iPad. The beautiful thing is that from now on, new apps that are created will work on either the iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad! I can just imagine the developers in our community salivating over this fact (already pounding away at their keyboards to come up with the next hot application)!

The iPad also comes with a new app called iBooks as well as an iBooks Store! Apple partnered with five publishers to make books available for sale through the iBooks store. The iBooks support the ePub format, and allows readers to casually flip through pictures, video, and other inline graphics.

I admit it – I will be getting an iPad. It’s one thing to read about it and watch all of the coverage. It will be another thing entirely to actually get my hands on one, and test it myself. I’ll reserve final judgment on the product until that time.

What are your thoughts so far on Apple’s newest gadget? Get it or skip it?

How to Make an iPhone App

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Anthony saw my call for screencasters, and stepped up to the plate. He has created an amazing tutorial for all of you would-be iPhone devs out there! In this screencast, he will show you how to get started, and walk you through creating a simple iPhone App of your very own! It’s not too late for you to submit a screencast to be uploaded to our channels. Click on the link at the beginning of this description for more information.

First, you’ll need to head over to Apple’s Dev Center and download the SDK. This includes the Xcode IDE, iPhone simulator, and a suite of additional tools for developing applications for iPhone and iPod touch. You do not need to buy a developer account – you can use a free one to start with. If you are interested in submitting something to the App Store at some point, you can then look at the membership options.

To create a new iPhone application, you start by creating a new project in Xcode. A project manages all of the information associated with your application, including the source files, build settings, and rules needed to put all of the pieces together. The Groups and Files list is where you manage the files in your project, including your source files and the build targets that are created from those source files. The toolbar gives you access to commonly used tools and commands while the details pane provides a configurable space for working on your project.

The Interface Builder is the next component you will need. It’s the tool that you’ll use to make your App user interface. Using this tool, you’ll assemble your App’s window by dragging and dropping preconfigured components into it. These include standard things like switches, text fields and buttons. Once you put them on the window’s surface, you can move them around, configure them and establish how these interact with your code.

The iPhone Simulator is used to test your App, so that you don’t have to use an actual iPhone. This will save you a load of time, and is very easy to use.

It’s not as difficult to create an iPhone App as you may have thought. With patience and time, anyone can learn how to do these. Once you create something unique that others may want to have, you’ll be able to start earning money on the App Store.

Thanks to Anthony for the excellent tutorial… and good luck to all of you budding iPhone developers!

[awsbullet:iphone app sdk]

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Linux and Adobe AIR – Can They Work Together?

Adobe AIR is a great way for developers to make desktop applications full of rich content that can be depoyed cross platform. However, up until today those who tried to run AIR applications on Linux had a rough time. The runtime and Software Development Kit (SDK) for AIR was originally released only for the Mac and Windows. Linux users required their own SDK; a public beta was pushed out earlier this year, and as beta testing goes, it had issues. Through a lot of feedback given by developers, Adobe was able to determine the problems with the software and the needs of the Linux community – just like how any other beta test works.

Yesterday Adobe proudly announced that they have released the AIR 1.5 runtime and SDK for Linux. However, with this comes a few small problems:

  1. Only three distributions of Linux are supported, all open: Ubuntu, Fedora and openSUSE. There are specific versions supported as well, so you will need to check the details.
  2. The 64-bit Linux distributions are not natively supported. Adobe has posted some information regarding the Flash Player 10 pre-release and a work-around to get AIR onto 64-bit Linux.

The good news?

You are now able to run all the wonderful applications your friends that use a Mac or a PC can! Applications like TweetDeck and Twhirl are now available, including countless others. You can check out the Adobe AIR Marketplace for more applications to download.

Are you an AIR developer? How does this change affect how you are developing your application? Don’t forget to leave your comments!

Have you Tried the Google Open Source Android Emulator?

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What operating system is running on your phone? At some point in the future, it may be Google’s operating system… dubbed Android. It’s open-source, and available for all operating systems. Those of you who don’t really know what an SDK is. In light terms, it’s a package of tools and examples given to software developers so that they can develop platforms.

I downloaded Android, and didn’t even really have to install anything. I simply clicked on it, and up pops this Android virtual device. Normally, this would be a touch-screen device for your phone, of course. On this emulator, it will show you what the dialer will look like. The interface is very clean thus far. Google maps is integrated into Android, as well! There’s a satellite mode, and a traffic mode.

Android will ship with a set of core applications including:

  • an email client
  • an SMS program
  • calendar
  • maps
  • browser
  • contacts

The Android platform is a software stack for mobile devices including an operating system, middleware and key applications. Developers can create applications for the platform using the Android SDK. Applications are written using the Java programming language and run on Dalvik, a custom virtual machine designed for embedded use which runs on top of a Linux kernel.

If you’re interested in developing something for Android, feel free to download the SDK. What operating systems and phones do you have? What do you prefer, and why?


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Why is the iPhone SDK Important?

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There’s buzz everywhere about Apple’s Software Development Kit – or SDK- release. You can, of course, download the SDK if you are using OS X. Two of the biggest reasons why people wouldn’t get an iPhone are now obliterated. People who already had the iPhone are saying “Great! Now we like it even more!”. I have some excellent ideas, but I’m not a developer. If anyone is a dev and doesn’t know what to write for the iPhone, get in touch with me! We can come up with some cool things.

I have put together five points why this is such a huge announcement. Here they are, in no certain order:

  • The SDK is free to download. It costs you nothing until you want to put it into the iStore (iTunes). The cost is $99.00, which isn’t really that much in this case.
  • Games are coming now! There will be games out the wazoo, that is for sure. If you watched the demo… you were likely oooh’ing and ahhh’ing.
  • There will be a 70% revenue share with the app developer, with a built-in marketing and updating mechanism. This is important. Software devs have a lot of barriers. They have to not only develop something good, they have to find an audience. In this instance, Apple will have the audience already in place for them.
  • Free applications can and WILL be developed. The free ones are likely to be things built on the Twitter api, YouTube, Flickr, and all the other Social Networking sites. That’ll make it easier for you to do your networking, right from your iPhone.
  • iTunes makes discovery and software management a *SNAP* for users. I’ve had all the different types of Windows Mobile devices. I could easily put something on there, and extend the functionality. Trying to update the software is a pain. It’s not the software… it’s the implementation. Apple has already reinvented this, and made it so simple to do the updates.


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Apple iPhone SDK

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Jeff called in to ask about the SDK coming out for the iPhone. He’s wondering if I know of any programs in development or coming out soon, that may enhance the iPhone’s functionability.

Here is a direct quote from Apple:

Let me just say it: We want native third party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK in developers’ hands in February. We are excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users. With our revolutionary multi-touch interface, powerful hardware and advanced software architecture, we believe we have created the best mobile platform ever for developers.

It will take until February to release an SDK because we’re trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once — provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc. This is no easy task. Some claim that viruses and malware are not a problem on mobile phones — this is simply not true. There have been serious viruses on other mobile phones already, including some that silently spread from phone to phone over the cell network. As our phones become more powerful, these malicious programs will become more dangerous. And since the iPhone is the most advanced phone ever, it will be a highly visible target.

Some companies are already taking action. Nokia, for example, is not allowing any applications to be loaded onto some of their newest phones unless they have a digital signature that can be traced back to a known developer. While this makes such a phone less than “totally open,” we believe it is a step in the right direction. We are working on an advanced system which will offer developers broad access to natively program the iPhone’s amazing software platform while at the same time protecting users from malicious programs.

We think a few months of patience now will be rewarded by many years of great third party applications running on safe and reliable iPhones.


P.S.: The SDK will also allow developers to create applications for iPod touch.


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