Posts tagged iPhone
Designing a mobile app can seem simple when you are sketching it out on the whiteboard. But when you actually sit down in your developer environment and get cracking, turning your ideas into reality is not always so easy.
That’s only the beginning, of course. What if you need to design your app for both the iPhone and Android? You will very quickly learn that you cannot just cut and paste your design from one platform to the other. Android and iOS frameworks share some basic principles, but when it comes to design, they are as different as ebony and ivory.
For instance, the notification bars in iOS and Android may look similar, but they perform different functions on each platform. And did you know that the action bar interface icon for iPhone is 20×20 pixels, while Android’s is 24×24 density-independent pixels? Do you know the difference between a pixel and a density-independent pixel?
Here’s a quick reminder, from StackOverflow: Density-independent Pixels – an abstract unit based on the physical density of the screen. These units are relative to a 160dpi screen, so one dp is one pixel on a 160dpi screen. The ratio of dp-to-pixel changes with the screen density, but not necessarily in direct proportion. Note: The compiler accepts both “dip” and “dp,” though “dp” is more consistent with “sp.”
Sometimes you just need an easy chart to remember these kinds of things. Mobile cloud-service provider Kinvey created a quick infographic going over the basics of iOS and Android design for easy reference when you are pulling out your hair trying to port your iPhone icons over to an Android app (or vice versa). Check it out below.
What are your biggest app design problems? Let us know in the comments.
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Dear Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata,
I write to you not as a know-it-all tech analysis pontificator or even a hardcore gamer. I’m just a guy who spent his childhood Saturday afternoons hunting for 8-bit Warp Whistles and Tanooki Suits in Super Mario Bros 3 for Nintendo. And I have a simple idea.
As you know, Nintendo hasn’t been doing so well lately. Your recently-revealed plans to bring smartphone-style apps to the Wii U represent a step in the right direction. If you want Nintendo to truly thrive in age of mobile computing, however, I’d suggest a willingness to go even further: bring Super Mario to my iPhone.
That is to say, Nintendo should let casual gamers like me have the option of downloading old NES and Super Nintendo games to our iOS and Android devices. Mario. Zelda. Kirby. Metroid. Charge us a few bucks for them. We’ll pay. And you’ll have our undivided attention on the devices to which we’re already glued. Those of us who are semi-serious enough to consider buying stand-alone gaming consoles would be even more likely to do so. Just delight us. You see, competition for our collective attention span has never been more fierce. Now’s your chance to grab a chunk of it.
The Wii Is 7, And Nintendo Is Struggling
One year ago, your company posted its first-ever operating loss, shedding $458 million due to lackluster hardware and game sales. Nintendo was fortunate enough to return to profitability this year, but sales of the new Wii U and 3DS consoles haven’t been nearly as high as anticipated.
It’s a sharp contrast from 2006 when the first Wii launched. Much to my delight, my brother gave me one for Christmas only after hunting one down for weeks by going from store to store. Demand was huge and business was booming, you’ll recall. These days, finding a Wii U is easy. The problem is that fewer of us want them.
Over time, sales of the original Wii naturally declined, as they will for the Wii U. Seemingly, the best conventional hope you have of driving those numbers north lies in slashing the price (which won’t help profits) and releasing must-have games for the console and hoping that they’re good — and well-publicized — enough to pique the interest of everyday consumers, whose attention is now firmly fixated elsewhere.
Shortly after the original Wii’s hugely successful launch, another sought-after piece of hardware was unveiled. When Steve Jobs first held up the iPhone on stage in 2007, it marked the beginning of a revolution in personal computing and a shift in how casual gamers discover and play video games. Many of the very same people enthralled by the mainstream appeal of the Wii were now unboxing iPhones and downloading Angry Birds. Apple has since sold more than 500 million iOS devices, a number that only continues to grow alongside similarly impressive figures from Android.
Bring Mario And Luigi Into The Smartphone Age
As the the mobile age has unfolded, Mario and Luigi have been nowhere to be found, remaining stubbornly locked up in your company’s proprietary hardware. Unless one jailbreaks the device and downloads an emulator, playing classic NES and Super Nintendo games on iOS is out the question. It’s unfortunate for consumers and it seems like a huge missed opportunity for Nintendo.
Since I bought my first iPhone in 2008, I’ve had this discussion with more people than I can count. If only you could buy the original Mario games, the Legend of Zelda and other NES classics on iOS, it would be so awesome. Yes, the other person and I always agree, we would pay for that. The more games, the more money we’d plunk down. It’s not just gamers and geeks, either. People who have absolutely no discernible interest in video games generally still harbor a nostalgic attachment to the side scrolling adventures they grew up playing.
Take Super Mario Brothers 3, which was released in the U.S. in 1990. Like most kids I knew at the time, I was positively addicted to that game. To this day, it remains the highest-grossing non-bundled video game in history. The only way to buy it now is by downloading it to the Wii or Wii U via Nintendo’s online marketplace. That’s great if you have a Wii, but not everyone is going to buy a gaming console, even one as mainstream-friendly as the Wii or Wii U.
Indeed, the original Wii has sold just shy of 100 million units since its launch. That’s less than one-fifth of the number of iOS devices in the world. Meanwhile, Android is on track to hit 1 billion activations later this year. That’s a lot of potential customers, and Nintendo is ignoring them.
Make It A Hardware Play
I know what you’re going to say, Mr. Iwata. We’re Nintendo. That’s just not how we do things. If people want to play our games, they have to use our hardware. End of story.
I’m not proposing that Nintendo abandon its gaming hardware business or even open up its new games to alternative platforms. But the mobile ecosystems of today are too massive to sanely ignore. A company like Nintendo could find a healthy new revenue stream by making already-popular titles available in these enormous marketplaces, where millions — and before long, billions — of potential customers are waiting.
Another obvious (and totally fair) objection is that these old school games aren’t made for touch screens. And it’s true. Playing Zelda on an iPhone could be a potentially annoying experience. Here’s where another opportunity exists for Nintendo: Design a sleek, fold-out smartphone case that doubles as a vintage NES gamepad that works with Nintendo-developed apps. For tablets, sell us something similar that fits the form factor and makes gameplay a pleasure. Make it an attachable accessory or a wireless Nintendo-branded controller. Either way, we’ll happily give you our money for it.
Rake In New Cash — Maybe Even Console Buyers
Will mobile games and smartphone-compatible hardware rake in as much as $300 consoles and $50 games? Probably not. But such a strategy could add a potentially healthy revenue stream that could help supplement what Nintendo brings in from its own hardware sales without cannibalizing them.
In fact, by tapping into these ecosystems and making a play for our attention spans, Nintendo could reel in new customers, giving them a taste for its characters and gameplay (or reigniting their love of the Mushroom Kingdom).
Such a move would represent a bold departure from Nintendo’s well-established strategy of tying games exclusively to its own hardware, but it only has to be as radical as Nintendo wants. Start with a few NES titles for iOS and if the results are strong, expand to other titles and platforms. If not, let these iOS games bring in a few extra bucks while you focus on recapturing the living room.
Bold, yes. But as plenty of other industries have learned, the proliferation of mobile devices has upended the way things used to be. Thriving sometimes requires rethinking old paradigms. Besides, if Super Mario Brothers 3 wouldn’t skyrocket to the top of the App Store charts over night, I’d be totally shocked.
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The apps that users have come to love (or hate) since the iPhone and its mobile operating system – iOS – first hit the market could be about to look very different: No more 3D cartoonish caricatures of bookshelves or billiard tables, Apple apps are reportedly going “flat.” Perhaps just as important, the new design could dictate when the next iPhone actually hits stores.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple’s lead designer, Sir Jonathan Ive, is completely revamping the look and feel of iOS. Ive had previously been the long-time head of hardware design at Apple (responsible for the physical look and feel of iMacs, iPods, iPads and the iPhone) but was elevated in 2012 when CEO Tim Cook let go Scott Forstall, the previous lead designer of iOS. Ive now controls the look and feel of just about every aspect of the iPhone.
With that change comes the end of skeuomorphism, the designconcept where developers make apps look like the physical object they represent. In iOS, this can be seen in the bookshelves of the Newsstand app or the paper notebook look of the Notes app.
Apple moving away from skeuomorphism is not news. The New York Times reported the move in November of last year, and the topic has been at the top of designers’ minds for months. On Wednesday, Bloomberg confirmed that Ive and his cohorts are moving toward a flat design that does not digitally recreate physical objects with 3D renderings.
What is news is that Ive’s team have apparently fallen behind in finalizing the new designs that are supposed to be ready for iOS when Apple unveils it at its World Wide Developers Conference, slated for June 10-14 in San Francisco. According to the Bloomberg report, the design concepts were due in February but are running a month late. The Apple team is working under intense pressure to get the new look down before the next iPhone ships, likely in September or October of this year.
- Forget Skeuomorphism: The (Digital) World Is Getting Flatter
- Will Apple’s New Design Approach Kill The Luster Steve Jobs Loved?
- Tim Cook Cleans House At Apple – Scott Forstall Is Out
Motivations For Flat Design
The flat design concept is in vogue with mobile designers because it provides a cleaner, crisper way to present information and easy interactive elements. Flat design works better on mobile screens, where inset text and spacing, among other issues, are concerns for developers. Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Windows Phone are prime examples of flat design.
A couple factors no doubt motivate Ive’s decision to transition iOS design:
- Apple is in desperate need of dramatic changes to make iOS 7 fresh and new for consumers. The basic digital design of iOS hasn’t changed since the first iPhone was launched in 2007.
- Flat design is more conducive to high-resolution screens. The original iPhone had a resolution of 163 pixels per inch (ppi) on its 3.5-inch screen. The iPhone 5 has 326 ppi on a 4-inch screen. Competitive models like the Samsung Galaxy S4 (441 ppi) and HTC One (469 ppi) boast even higher resolutions that Apple will likely try to match or best with its newest iPhone.
According to reports, the disagreement that led to Forstall’s exit from Apple centered around skeumorphism vs. flat design. Now that Ive is in control of both hardware and software, he is going to bring everything into alignment with his own vision.
Are you looking forward to a different design for your iPhone apps? Or are you happy with how your iPhone currently looks? Let us know in the comments.
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Google is bringing its Now predictive search platform to Apple’s mobile operating system as a feature on the new version of Google’s Search application for the iPhone and iPad. Users will be able to access Now through the Search app itself.
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Previously Android-only, Google’s “predictive search” tool Google Now is now available for the iPhone and iPad. It’s part of an updated Google Search App for iOS. Google Now for iOS had been anticipated since March, when Engadget discovered a promotional video suggesting it…
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Today, Google’s Googliest project makes the leap from Android to iOS. Google Now, announced last June at the company’s I/O 2012 conference, is part smart search and part personal assistant — but don’t call it Siri. The service will make its debut on iOS through an update to Google’s core Search app, available in the App Store.
According to Google’s blog post on the release, “Today, with the launch of Google Now on iPhone and iPad, your smartphone will become even smarter. Google Now is about giving you just the right information at just the right time. Together, Google Now and voice search will make your day run a little smoother.”
Google Now for iOS will be nearly identical to the Android release, though it won’t enjoy the same deep integration as it does on Google’s own mobile platform. That means no homescreen widget, of course, and no “swipe up” gesture for instant, fluid access. The iOS version will also be missing a few of the cards you’d find on Android: For now, cards for boarding passes, nearby events, Fandago and Zillow will remain an Android exclusive.
A 20% Project That Took Off
We spoke with Google’s Baris Gultekin, co-creator of Google Now, about the product’s migration to that other platform. According to Gultekin, Google Now is the latest product home run with humble beginnings as a year-long 20% project (Google encourages employees to dedicate 20% of their time to a pet project that interests them).
“In the early days it was all about keywords,” Gultekin explains. “With Google Now, you don’t even have to search. We’re really interested in having computers do all the hard work.”
For Google Now, the heavy lifting comes easy. A smart search app on steroids, it provides instant access to a spread of useful information, delivered via “cards”. The cards are wholly dependent on context. As Gultekin puts it, ”The product is different given the situation you’re in.” You might see a card for commute traffic around rush hour, or a card for your flight reservation the morning before you head to the airport.
Google Now Is Google, Now
Google Now is an umbrella project of sorts, tying Google’s vast web of products together. Naturally, the product is also right at home on Google Glass, the company’s futuristic eyewear that also aims to make this whole business of carrying the Internet less interruptive.
Google is betting big on Google Now, so it will be interesting to see if the service takes off in Apple’s ecosystem. Google iOS ports like Google Maps are wildly popular, but will iPhone users take notice of Google Now?
From its perfect morsels of context-dependent info to its uncanny knack for knowing what you needed to know before you knew you needed to know it, Google Now is a powerful tool — and a fun one.
Try it out today in the App Store and have fun pitting it against Siri in voice-powered search time trials.
You know you want to.
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Its full title is Super Monster Bros By Adventure Time Pocket Free Games, and it just may be the worst iPhone app ever. Dug up by an excellent IGN series ‘”iPhone Garbage,” the free app is a side-scrolling game that not only blatantly rips off Nintendo with slightly altered Pokémon character designs, but it also employs an aggressive in-app purchase system that spams users constantly with offers at prices up to $100! It’s a iPhone rip-off tactic only marginally less offensiver than the ever-popular screenshot scam.
For instance, if you want to use a character other than the default, which is basically a duplicate of Charmander from the original Pokémon games, you need to cough up anywhere from $4.99 for the caveman to a whopping $99.99 for the Charizard look-alike. Then when you’re actually playing the game, you’re bombarded with offers for other purchases, like $1 to buy more firepower for your character or 20 extra lives for $10. Then there are the full-screen ads for other apps that randomly pop up on-screen in the middle of the game.
Not surprisingly, the gameplay is beyond terrible. There doesn’t seem to be any point outside of scamming people into paying for ridiculous add-ons. The biggest mystery is how this travesty got through Apple’s App Store approval process despite apparently infringing on copyrighted Nintendo material and an all-around exploitive design. The games are also available on Google’s less-restrictive Google Play market for Android.
What To Watch Out For
Reviews are certainly a great way to keep others from downloading a terrible app; the first three reviews that show up are titled, respectively, “This should be criminal..,” “This app is offensive,” and “This should be illegal.” So you may wonder who gets fooled by this nonsense, but how about those unlucky parents with kids who know their Apple ID passwords. All it takes is clicking the Buy button and entering your password, and this game could end up costing some family hundreds of dollars.
In fact, the Top 10 in-app purchases list in the App Store indicates that the number-one item purchased by players is the “Role NO.1 and Unlock All” feature – for an absurd $99.99.
So who is the mastermind behind this ingenious money-making machine? That would be a developer by the name of Mario Casas, designer of such other gems as Adventure Games Super Monster Bros Plus and Super Squirrel Bros by Mario Casas Games. They all share similar designs and the same in-app purchasing system.
How To Report Bad Apps to Apple
The App Store has long wrestled with a proliferation of scam apps. IGN’s iPhone Garbage series exposes a dark corner of the App Store where games like Krazy Kong (a Donkey Kong rip-off) and Legend of Zenda (a Zelda rip-off) somehow found a home. Apple seems to take an after-the-fact approach to rooting them out, as outlined here by iMore’s Rene Ritchie:
Apple’s approach seems to be that of YouTube – approve any app that meets technical criteria and then respond to publicity or legal takedown demands from copyright holders when and if they come in. It’s one of the smartest, safest approaches, legally, for Apple. They certainly don’t want to take on the responsibility of pre-emptively moderating intellectual property, and then have their necks on the lawsuit line when something slips through and the rights holders sue both the offending party and Apple.
So how do you report a bad app like Super Monster Bros By Adventure Time Pocket Free Games? If you dropped a bundle on this game’s purchases, Apple devotes a Web page to reporting issues with purchases. If you managed to hold on to your cash but still want to report the app, the best way is to go through iTunes Support. Be warned, though, Apple hasn’t shown much inclination to substantially overhaul its review process to catch these specific types of tricks. So as long as these kinds of exploitive apps can make their creators easy money, they’ll keep showing up.
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Yahoo has launched an iPhone app using Summly’s technology less than a month after buying the firm for $30 million. The Yahoo app allows users to search for news topics they are interested in and displays summarized versions of chosen articles.
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Business owners that either provide a service and have a brick and mortar presence have been using Google Places for quite some time. Google is revamping Google Places and G+. They just released an app for Google Places that is now available on both the iPhone and the iPod Touch. If you’re looking for it [...]
The post Google Places Now Has An iPhone and iPod Touch App appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
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Local business owners have a new tool for managing their Google Places For Business listing: a dedicated app that works on the iPhone and iPod Touch. There’s no official announcement that I can find about the app, and as best I can tell, the iClarified blog was first to report on it. The…
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