iOS Device Summary: September 2016 Updates

I’ve updated my iOS Device Summary with hardware announced at the Apple event on September 7, 2016.

Check out the iOS Device Summary page for more info about the idea behind the summary as well as PDF downloads—including optimized files for printing.

A few notes:

Sometimes fall brings new iOS hardware across all product lines. This year, only new iPhone versions were released.

In terms of legacy hardware support, iOS 10 drops support for devices running the A5 and A5X processor. This includes iPhone 4S , which means that there are no devices with a 3.5-inch screen that support iOS 10.

.Don’t feel badly for devices with the A5 chip—they have had a very good run. The iPhone 4S debuted running iOS 5 and iPad 2 debuted with iOS 4.2.1. Both were supported up through iOS 9.

Time will tell if the next version of iOS drops support for A6 and A6X devices. When support for those devices is dropped, iOS devices will be 64-bit only.

In the meantime, of course, it is important to test on older devices running the oldest version of iOS that you support.

I hope you find this version of the chart helpful. •

Chart depicting iOS devices by screen size, processor and supported OS version

 

tvOS and watchOS Device Summary: April Edition

After updating the popular iOS Device Summary in March, it seemed the beginning of April would be a good time to introduce summaries for devices running the most recently introduced Apple operating systems: tvOS and watchOS.

I hope you find these as useful as I have. •

Chart depicting tvOS devices by screen size, processor and supported OS version

Chart depicting watchOS devices by screen size, processor and supported OS version

iOS Device Summary: March 2016 Updates

I’ve updated my iOS Device Summary with hardware announced at the Apple event on March 21, 2016.

Check out the iOS Device Summary page for more info about the idea behind the summary as well as PDF downloads—including optimized files for printing.

A few notes on the newly introduced hardware:

The introduction of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro means even more users will be putting the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard through its paces. Even if your app is not a drawing or text-centric, you might consider having at least one size of iPad Pro with these accessories for development and testing.

The iPhone SE brings paris a well-established iOS screen resolution with a faster processor. From a testing perspective, apps that perform well on previous 4-inch devices should perform even better on the new hardware.

Only the display of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro has the new True Tone feature.

The Night Shift feature introduced in iOS 9.3 is available to devices using at least an A7 chip—every device on the 64-bit side of the divide on the summary chart.

I hope you find this version of the chart helpful. •

Chart depicting iOS devices by screen size, processor and supported OS version

 

iOS Device Summary: Fall 2015 Updates

I’ve updated my iOS Device Summary with hardware announced at the Apple event on September 9, 2015. This edition drops iOS 5 and A4-based devices to make way for iOS 9 and the A9 and A9X.

(This update has taken a little while—I’ve been busy helping to build a new cloud computer at Upthere.  I’m excited to say that we launched yesterday. I encourage you to learn more and join the beta at upthere.com.)

Check out the iOS Device Summary page for more info about the idea behind the summary as well as PDF downloads—including optimized files for printing.

The biggest news this fall is the iPad Pro, which introduces the largest iOS screen size ever, but also two new Apple accessories that may be important to test your app with: the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard. On the other new devices, iPhone and iPad screen resolutions remain the same and get faster processors. From a testing perspective, things that perform well on last year’s models should perform even better on the new hardware.

It is also interesting to note that all of the devices that can run iOS 6 are on the 32-bit side of the processor divide.

I hope you find this version of the chart helpful. •

Chart depicting iOS devices by screen size, processor and supported OS version

Apple Home Page Tabs History—September 2015 Edition

The year 2015 has been a busy one in Apple Home Page Tab history.

It’s been over a decade since there have been this many changes to Apple home page tabs in a single year.

Image of Apple home page tabs

Click for full-sized image

The only other time Apple home page tabs changed three times in a calendar year was back in 2003.

All three of the home page tab changes that year revolved around the introduction of the iTunes Music Store. The Switch tab for the Mac Switcher ad campaign changed to Music with the introduction of iTMS in April 2003. This lasted five months when iTunes replaced Music. This lasted only a month when the tab became iPod + iTunes.

There were no visual style changes to the tabs in 2003, just repeated content changes to that single tab as Apple adjusted how it presented its new foray into digital music to the world.

The changes of 2003 came full circle this past June, when the iTunes and iPod tabs combined to become a Music tab with the introduction of the new Apple Music service—but even bigger changes were right around the corner.

August 2015: Store to Shopping Bag

In August 2015, a redesigned apple.com combined the shopping experience of store.apple.com with the product information found on the main Apple site.

With the online store no longer a standalone site, the venerable Store tab—a fixture in the Apple home page tab lineup since the very beginning—had outlived its usefulness.

The Apple home page Bag icon containing a blue dot to show it has contents

Shopping Bag is the first tab to show state.

For its entire tenure, the Store tab was the constant companion of the Apple tab, its steady commerce-oriented neighbor to the right.

The new Shopping Bag tab is the logical successor to the Store tab, but it is not its replacement in either location or behavior. 1

The Apple and Shopping Bag tabs are now the first and last items serving as bookends for the rest of the home page tabs.

In terms of behavior, clicking the Shopping Bag tab displays a menu of shopping-related choices, similar to the ‘shopping cart’ on most e-commerce sites.  It is the first Apple home page tab to indicate state, showing a blue dot if the user has items in their bag. 2

A New, Responsive Design

The updated apple.com also included visual and functional changes site-wide and to the tab bar in particular.

The tab bar became translucent black with underlying page content visible beneath, a refinement to the visual style introduced in September 2014. 3

The updated website design is also responsive, with the tab bar changing appearance based on page width. For a width 768 and above, the tab bar shows all of its tabs.

The Apple home page tab bar adjusted for narrow width shows a menu button to access other tabs, a centered Apple item, and the Bag item on the right.

The responsive design hides most tabs and adds a menu tab when viewed at narrow widths.

For narrower widths, only three items are visible. The Apple tab appears in the center. The Shopping Bag tab is on the right edge.  A new menu tab is on the left edge. All other tabs are presented as menu items displayed by clicking or tapping this new tab.

In the narrow layout there are other minor changes—the tab bar becomes slightly taller and the Apple and Shopping Bag icons slightly larger.

September 2015: TV no longer a hobby

In September 2015, Apple announced the fourth generation Apple TV with Siri Remote and a tvOS SDK for developers to create apps for the new device. Along with that announcement, a new TV tab was added.

This tab was a long time coming. Apple TV was first announced under its code name iTV nine years prior, in the fall of 2006. For many years, Apple referred to Apple TV as a ‘hobby’, indicating that it was not a core product such as Mac or iPhone. History indicates that hobbies do not warrant a tab on the Apple home page.

So, with the announcement of the new Apple TV and the addition of the TV tab, it seems TV is no longer a hobby for Apple. •

Since the last update, I’ve been cited as the ‘unofficial Apple home page tabs historian’ in articles at The Loop and Six Colors.  Here are a few past articles on this topic that you might enjoy:


The name Bag was the label Apple originally used in the tab’s web accessibility ‘aria-label’ tag. As of September 29, 2015, this appears to have changed to Shopping Bag

Some earlier tab bar designs would indicate selection state, darkening to indicate which section of the site you were visiting. The shopping bag is the first tab that carries state or status independent of selection.

The images used in the A Brief History of Apple Home Page Tabs graphic are screen captures of the tab bar over a white background

 

iOS Device Summary: A8 iPod Touch Update

I’ve updated my iOS Device Summary with the newly announced iPod touch.

You can check out the iOS Device Summary page for more info about the summary plus PDF downloads—including optimized files for printing.

For developers, the iPod touch has been a useful, relatively inexpensive compact device for testing. The previous model was released almost four years ago and sits at the very low end of devices that support iOS 8 and iOS 9.  The new sixth generation iPod touch is a welcome addition as a more affordable testing device with a recent 64-bit processor.  Like previous generations, the new iPod touch has a 4-inch display, so an iPhone is still needed for on-device testing of larger screen resolutions.

It is interesting to note that every iOS device that Apple currently sells, except the iPhone 5c, has a 64-bit processor.

This also means that if you need to acquire older models for testing iOS 8 and iOS 9, you will need to turn to refurbished or used devices.

I hope you find this version of the chart helpful. •

Chart depicting iOS devices by screen size, processor and supported OS version

iOS Device Summary: iOS 9 Update

I’ve updated my iOS Device Summary with the iOS 9 info Apple has publicly posted.

Check out the iOS Device Summary page for the rationale behind the summary plus PDF downloads—including optimized files for printing.

Some things to note from WWDC announcements and Apple product lineup changes:

All devices that support iOS 8 will also support iOS 9.

Apps are currently required to support both 32-bit and 64-bit processors. With iOS 9, the App Store will also accept apps that are 64-bit only. This allows developers to limit deployment of an app to more recent devices with faster CPUs and GPUs. The device summary now has a line showing where 32-bit ends and 64-bit begins.

Finally, devices for testing:

  • At $199, the 16 GB, 5th generation iPod touch is still the most affordable compact iOS 9 device
  • At $299, the 16 GB, WiFi iPad mini 2 is now the most affordable iOS 9 iPad
  • As of 6/19/15, the original iPad mini is discontinued—try used and refurbished devices for low-end iPad testing.

I hope you find this version of the chart helpful. •

Chart depicting iOS devices by screen size, processor and supported OS version

Apple Home Page Tabs History — June 2015 Edition

Last fall, I posted A Brief History of Apple Home Page Tabs which showed a visual history of each change in the tabs on the apple.com home page since they were introduced in January 2001. That post also called out some of the major changes and common themes in both interface style and products over the years.

On June 8th, 2015, about 9 months after the previous change, the Apple home page tabs have changed again.

Image of Apple Home Page Tabs

Click for the full-sized image.

With the introduction of the Apple Music service, the iPod and iTunes tabs have been replaced with a single Music tab.

The Apple home page has had iTunes and iPod in a tab for almost twelve years.  The iTunes tab first appeared in September 2003 with iPod being added for a combined iPod + iTunes tab the very next month in October 2003.

They shared a tab together for close to a decade before being broken out into separate tabs in March 2010, where they have remained until being combined into a single Music tab last week.

Music tab on the Apple home page is not entirely new, nor is the term Apple Music.  A Music tab first appeared at the introduction of the iTunes Music Store on April 28, 2003.*  In addition, posters commemorating the launch listed the site address AppleMusic.com.

That tab lasted until September 2003, when it changed to an iTunes tab.  Time will tell if the Music tab and the Apple Music brand hang in there longer this time around. •

Poster of Gibson ES-335 electric guitar with AppleMusic.com in upper right corner of poster.

Poster of the original AppleMusic.com from 2003.

I used the Internet Wayback Machine to help track these changes down. If I’ve missed any changes, please feel free to let me know!

*The original post listed the addition of the original Music tab in May 2003, which is the earliest archive I found in the Internet Wayback Machine.  However, this change almost certainly went live on the day the iTunes Music Store was introduced on April 28th, 2003. 

iOS Device Summary: iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 Update

It’s been a busy few weeks with Apple announcements and Backtrace, our new album of iOS and Mac development songs, hitting the Billboard charts. I’ve updated my iOS Device Summary to include the recently announced iPads.

Check out the iOS Device Summary page for the rationale behind the summary as well as PDF downloads—including optimized files for printing.

The new iOS devices introduced this fall presented some challenges for the summary chart:

The iPad mini 2 and iPad mini 3 have identical processors and screens. The devices appear on the chart as a single entry, split to reflect the different supported OS versions.

We have not seen a revised iPod touch in two years. With the traditional Apple fall events behind us, it is unlikely we will see a significant update until next fall at the earliest. Since the iPod touch line ends at the A5 chip and the multiple-model iPhones start at the A6 chip, these have been combined into a single row.

Finally, the new A8X chip pushes the number of columns to the limit, so I’ve dropped the ARM chip and the iPhone 3GS and 3rd Generation iPod touch from the chart.

Since the chart is starting to have trouble cleanly representing devices on a single page, I am looking at more dynamic ways of presenting this information in the future.

Until then, I hope you find this version of the summary chart helpful. •

Chart depicting iOS devices by screen size, processor and supported OS version
Check out the iOS Device Summary page to learn more and download printable PDFs of the summary.
And check out Backtrace, the only album of iOS and Mac development tunes ever on the Billboard charts.

A Brief Visual History of Apple Home Page Tabs

This week brought announcements of new iPhones, Apple Pay, and Apple Watch, as well as the quiet departure of the iPod classic, the last remaining click-wheel product in the iPod lineup.  It also brought something that happens much less often than new product announcements—changes to the look and lineup of tabs at the top of the page at apple.com.

We can see a few different things by looking at how these have changed over the last fourteen years.

Apple Home Page Tab History

Click for the full-sized image

First, we see how the user interface has evolved.  The tabs begin with the natty pinstripes and bubblicious tabs of the original Aqua interface, appearing on the home page immediately after Aqua was introduced in January 2000.  This was the first production use of Aqua elements by Apple—the release of Mac OS X, 10.0 was over a year away.  Through the next fourteen years, we see the designs become simpler as the candy look becomes more subtle before disappearing entirely.  With the removal of dividing lines between items, the original tabs have finally morphed into a simple menu bar.

This week’s update also ended the reign of Lucida Grande as the font of choice—the honor now belongs to the Apple variant of Myriad.

The content of the tabs shows an interesting progression as well.  The Apple logo, Store, and Support tabs are a common thread throughout with Search appearing surprisingly late in the game in 2007.  These unchanging outer items are like bookends around the changing world of Apple over time.

For the first seven years, the inner tabs mainly focused on software (QuickTime, Mac OS X, iTunes) and different incarnations of online services (iReview, iCards, iTools which became .Mac).  The first hardware to appear on a tab was iPod, but it had to share a tab with iTunes for almost seven years before getting a tab of its own.

With the release of the iPhone in 2007, the tabs became more hardware-centric, with Mac and iPhone getting their own tabs.  With the introduction of the iPad in early 2010, the center of the tabs became all hardware lines, with the exception of iTunes (both software and a service).

And, of course, this week Watch joins the lineup. It seems a little odd not to use the full product name Apple Watch or <Apple logo>Watch, especially since Watch is both a noun and a verb.

Although the appearance and focus of the tabs have changed over time, it is interesting to note that almost all tabs name something that has been an enduring part of the Apple ecosystem (the exceptions being iReview, iCards, and the Switch campaign).  Details may have changed—iTools begat .Mac begat MobileMe begat iCloud, Mac OS X is now OS X—but there are some very consistent through lines.  Here’s hoping the Apple Watch is one of those through lines for a long time to come.•

I used the Internet Wayback Machine to help track these changes down. If I’ve missed any changes, please feel free to let me know!