Tag Archives: Ipod Touch

iOS 5 Speech-To-Text Feature Revealed

We had heard rumors that Siri’s artificial intelligence and assistance technology may be deeply integrated into iOS 5, before it was unveiled at WWDC 2011 Keynote.

Couple of weeks back, folks at 9 to 5 Mac had published a screenshot from an Apple iPhone test unit, which indicates that the feature will be called Assistant. They have published another screenshot from iOS 5 with a microphone in the standard keyboard.They explain how the feature will work:

As you can see, it is quite simple. Just click the microphone icon next to the space key and start talking. Once the key is clicked, a new microphone overlay will appear as long as you are talking. After that, the text will appear in the text field as you can see in the screenshot above.

Meanwhile, MacRumors points out that Apple has gone out of its way to hide the feature in iOS 5:

Apple’s certainly aware that individuals comb through every new developer beta looking for hints of upcoming features. In this instance, they’ve obfuscated the names of various pieces of the interface. For example, calling the microphone button “forward delete key” and the keyboard pretends to be a “Dvorak” keyboard. The move is a reflection of the increased scrutiny of Apple’s moves but also the relative significance of this feature that Apple has gone out of its way to hide. 

Back in June, we saw couple of screenshots, which revealed Settings for Nuance’s speech recognition technology built into what appeared to an internal iOS 5 build as these settings are not available in iOS 5 beta that was released to developers. The screenshot confirm that Apple is definitely working on integrating Nuance speech recognition technology in iOS. We hope that Apple introduces it at the iPhone 5 launch later this fall.

( Source :www.iphonehacks.com)

7 UI Design Resources for iPhone Developers

With the great significance of the large screen on the iPhone / iPod Touch, the graphical interfaces of iPhone apps are more important than on other mobile platforms. In this post, we’ve rounded up several tutorials, links, and resources that you can use in your iPhone user interface design process.

iPhone GUI PSD (Photoshop file)

iphoneguipsd.png

teehan+lax – an interactive user interface design agency – has put together a solid Photoshop file (PSD) containing all of the main iPhone UI widgets. It’s a whopping 6 megabytes and includes everything from scrolling lists to the keyboard, labels, browser bars, play controls, phone keypad, and more.

This file is awesome if you want to put together some mock designs for your app. Even if you’re not an iPhone app developer yourself, you could use this to spec out your app before passing it to a developer.. giving you more control over the result.

320480.com has an alternative iPhone interface PSD file for download, if you want some variety.

iPhone GUI stencil for Omnigraffle

omnigraffle-iphone-ui-design.png

Patrick Crowley has put together the “ultimate stencil” for people designing iPhone interfaces. It’s not for Photoshop like those above, but for Omnigraffle – a popular layout / mocking app on OS X.

Favorites UI Design Walkthrough

favorites1.png

Favorites is an iPhone application by Matt Legend Gemmell that gives you “virtual speed-dial” for calls, SMS and e-mail. He’s put together an article where he details how to designed the user interface for the application.

You’ll want a mug of coffee to hand before reading this article, it’s really, really long, but it’s also really good and packed full of screenshots and examples. Favorites is a very polished app and Matt spills the beans on how he got it that way (of course, some people in the comments section disagree, but that’s also worth reading). An essential read unless you’re dead confident about getting the UI just right in your own apps.

iPhone-Likeness

notes-list-thumb.jpg

Legendary Mac blogger John Gruber has written an essay defining how iPhone applications should be as “iPhone-like” as possible. He brings up some quick and effective tips and tactics you can use to organize your app.

Edward Tufte on iPhone interface design

sparkline-dashboard-on-iphone.jpg

Edward Tufte (pronounced “tufty”) is almost considered a god in the field of information design and presentation. Quite early on in the iPhone’s life, he put together an interesting video with some thoughts on iPhone interface design. Edward Tufte is well worth paying attention to, because even though his ideas are radical, they work and they’re ultimately quite simple. Show information, not glitz.

iPhone and the Dog Ears User Experience Model

If we can make a user experience where things don’t come to a slamming, smashing, halt but instead move and fade as lyrically as a dancer, we’ve just added something to their life.

Back in the early iPhone days of 2007, Kathy Sierra noted how the iPhone provides the user with a soft, “flowing” experience. She elaborates on why this is useful. You need to make sure you’re using these concepts in your app.
( Source: www.mobileorchard.com )

Is Android Losing App Developers To iOS?

There is no denying Android’s huge growth in the past year and a half. With each iteration of the OS, Google has fixed bugs, introduced new features and tried to make Android better. But unfortunately because of Google’s reliance on middlemen like carriers and hardware manufacturers to deliver updates, many phones still run older versions of the OS despite the source code of the latest version out in the open.A look at the developer section of Android’s website tells us that more than half of Android phones still run Froyo, a version which is more than a year old. Gingerbread, the latest version of the OS accounts for less than 20% of Android phones. (Even the iPhone can run Gingerbread!)

Flurry, an analytics firm has released a report that indicates Android is losing its appeal as far as developers are concerned, earlier reports however portrayed a different picture. The sample audience in surveys and reports like these matters a lot. If not chosen correctly the results tend to be highly skewed in favor of a certain platform. Keeping this in mind, let us have a look at the thought process that goes through a developer’s mind before deciding to develop for a platform.

Install Base

Even though Android currently leads in terms of smartphone market share with around 135 million devices, the iOS ecosystem still trounces Android in terms of the sheer number of devices out there. Developers develop apps not just for the iPhone but for the iOS ecosystem which includes iPod Touches and iPads totally amounting to nearly 200 million devices. So when given a choice between a target audience of 200 million and 135 million any sane person would choose to opt for the former.

Development tools

The next factor that counts is development tools. How user friendly developer tools are? How easy is it to learn the development language?

Apple’s development tools are a lot better when it comes to designing, creating interfaces and testing apps on the simulator. There is a steep learning curve associated with Objective-C, the preferred choice for native application development on iOS, but after that the development process is really smooth. Android has the advantage of a lot of developers already being familiar with Java (Android’s development language), but the whole process of installing the SDK, creating virtual devices and designing interfaces is unpleasant. But iOS development which isn’t cross platform, involves higher costs as compared to Android development.

So if money isn’t a constraint it would make sense for developers to chose iOS.

Fragmentation

This is a major problem which plagues Android developers as well as Google. New phones with different screen sizes, hardware capabilities and operating systems flood the market everyday and it is difficult for developers to ensure that their apps run without any quirks on all phones. Compare this with iOS, where developers have a very small number of devices to test their apps on, and ensure they run smoothly on all of them.

An example of this: The Hulu app is available only on six out of the hundreds of Android phones available.

Willingness to Pay

Countless reports reaffirm the fact that iOS users buy more apps than Android users. According to GigaOm, an iOS user on an average downloads 83 apps with the average selling price of an app being $1.48. Android on the other is known for apps that are plastered with ads and given out for free. When Rovio, the company behind Angry Birds launched on the Android Market, they chose to give away the app for free supported via ads.

Discoverability

An app won’t be downloaded if it doesn’t get popular. The App Store has various ways through which it gives visibility to apps, like Staff Picks, App of the week, New and Noteworthy etc. Android developers have always complained about not being publicised well enough through the Android Market. This and the open nature of Android has led to the rise of alternative stores like the Amazon Appstore, Verizon’s VCAST App store and others. Even if this solves the problem of visibility in some way it brings along with it the hassle of tracking your apps in multiple places. This April fools post by iOS developer Ray Wenderlich highlights exactly this problem.

Pretty Apps

Because of Apple’s expertise and focus on design, it is very easy for a developer without any experience in design to make an app with a nice looking UI just by following the Human Interface Guidelines. Ugly Android apps have a Tumblr dedicated to them. Good UI is definitely a huge selling point when it comes to apps, and hiring a designer to do that means extra money. So if Apple lets you create pretty apps without putting any extra efforts why would developers go for Android?

All in all it seems that even though the entry point to iOS development might be a bit expensive and difficult, the journey after that is very smooth without having to worry about compatibility, visibility, design. Where Android scores is the hardware specs. Apple iOS device specs get bumped once in a year, while a new Android device is launched almost every three to four weeks outclassing its preprocessor. But unless developers have a sizeable number of devices with these specs, developing an app to take advantage of this would be a waste of efforts. In this post, we chose to ignore the tablet angle due to the dismal state of Honeycomb tablets.

With the launch of iPhone 5 (iPad 3 or iPad Pro?) imminent, it will only increase the interests of developers as well as buyers.

( Source : www.iphonehacks.com )

Apple’s iCloud and what it means for wireless data service

MobileMe is effectively gone, replaced by iCloud. iCloud will take over the syncing of mail, contacts, and calendars over multiple iOS devices.(Credit: Donald Bell/CNET)

Apple’s new iCloud services announced at the World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco today will put everything from mobile apps to digital pictures to music in the “cloud,” where users can easily store and access them. But what will this mean for your wireless data bill?

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iCloud service, which acts as a digital hub that will store and replicate content so that it can be shared among multiple iOS devices, such as iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads.

“Now the (digital) hub is in the cloud,” Jobs said during the keynote presentation, according to CNET’s live blog. “If you get something on your iPhone, like a picture, it goes up to the cloud, and gets pushed down to the other devices automatically.”

What this means for consumers is that they’ll no longer have to connect their iOS devices to a computer to back up information or sync their music. They also won’t have to connect their devices to a computer for software updates. Their iTunes music collection, photos taken on their iOS devices, videos viewed on those devices, iBooks, e-mail, calendar information, and more will all be stored in the Apple iCloud so that users can access them on any iOS device.

Unlike other cloud-based services that may require users to manually upload music, Jobs said that Apple has automated the process to make it easy.

It all sounds great for people with iOS devices, who want access to all their content on any device. But how will all this content travel between the iPhone or iPad and the iCloud? Will this put a big strain on carrier networks, and cost consumers more money on their data plans?

Daily updates could indeed put a strain on already struggling cellular networks. But Apple seems prepared to mitigate this problem by forcing some of the data-intensive activities to be done over Wi-Fi instead of over a carrier’s cellular network.

This is especially important given that many iPhone users may not have an unlimited data plan from AT&T. Verizon Wireless, which began selling the iPhone 4 this year, has also said it plans to get rid of its unlimited data plan and move to a tiered offering.

Experts believe that with Apple’s use of Wi-Fi, plus the low-bandwidth nature of some of the updates, it shouldn’t be a problem for most consumers. For one, much of the data that will be transferred between devices will be contacts, e-mails, calendar updates, and other text-based data that doesn’t gobble up a lot of bandwidth. What’s more, when devices are synched, they’ll be updating only new information.

Secondly, software updates and major data transfers will likely be reserved for Wi-Fi only. Forrester analyst Charlie Golvin was at the WWDC event today, and he said Apple’s daily updates of iOS devices will happen over Wi-Fi only. And the bigger software updates, which will also happen automatically from time to time, will also happen over Wi-Fi and will occur only when devices are plugged in to an electrical source. This is important, because it means the software updates won’t drain the battery. Additionally, iTunes updates and syncing will also happen only over Wi-Fi.

What happens when Wi-Fi is not available? Apple didn’t mention that. And Golvin said it’s hard to say whether Apple will make it possible to do some of these more data intensive transfers over 3G, or in the future, 4G wireless networks.

Other experts speculate that Apple will give consumers a choice in the setting menu how they access the cloud-based content and backups.

“There are several ways that Apple could manage data usage,” said Ross Rubin, an analyst with NPD Group. “For example, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Apple uploading photos at a lower resolution when on a bandwidth constrained network.”

Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Gartner, said Apple already requires that certain apps that are too large be downloaded via Wi-Fi. And he said he expects the company to give consumers some choice in how they set up their data usage.

“They may give you the option to load your pictures now or to queue them until you get to a Wi-Fi hot spot,” he said. “And you’ll likely have the option to turn off the updates.”

The new iCloud services will be available this fall. So expect Apple to discuss more details about how the service works as the launch date nears.

( Source: news.cnet )

iOS 5 Beta 3 Brings Performance Improvements, Additional Location Controls, Voice Roaming Toggle & More

Apple has just seeded iOS 5 beta 3 to developers of iOS Developer program for iPhoneiPadiPod Touch and Apple TV 2G.

It hasn’t taken much time for folks at It’s All Tech and Cult of Mac to discover the new changes and improvements in iOS 5 beta 3.

Here is a list of the changes and improvements discovered in iOS 5 beta 3 so far:

Performance improvements:

Developers are reporting that iOS 5 beta 3 is a lot snappier than iOS 5 beta 1 and beta 2. For example: Camera app loads a lot faster in iOS beta 3.

Additional Location Controls:

iOS 5 beta 3 brings number of additional location controls for iOS device users such as:

  • Users get an option to enable or disable location services during the setup process as seen in the screenshot below:
  • Users will be able to allow or disallow functions such as cell network searching, diagnostics, iAds, time zone setting, and traffic to make use of iOS device’s location information. Users currently can enable or disable location services at an app level     

    Voice Roaming:

    As of now, users can only disable data roaming to avoid high roaming data charges. iOS 5 will also allow users to disable voice roaming as well.

  • Some minor changes:

    • Safari gets a new Advanced page in the Settings app with options to remove a website’s data and ability to enable Debug console to debug website errors.
    • Toggles to clear cookies and data that were missing in the first two beta versions have been restored.
    • You can now create a mailbox directly in the Mail app.
    • Two new ringtones added for iPhone users: Tweet and Sherwood Forrest.
    • In iOS 5 beta 1, we noticed that Apple has split the iPod app into a Music app and Video app for iPhone users, just like iPod Touch. iOS 5 beta 3 now prompts users to inform them about this change.
    • Music app gets a new Store button, which will take you to the iTunes store.
    • Reminders app gets a new icon.
    • Wi-Fi Sync has been renamed as iTunes Wi-Fi sync.
    • Software update screen in Settings app (Settings –> General –> Software update) now displays the current iOS version number installed on the iOS device.

    Apple hasn’t tweaked the user interface of the Lock Screen notifications that were introduced in iOS 5 beta 2, in case you were hoping that Apple will revert the changes.

    ( Source: http://www.iphonehacks.com )