James Dempsey and the Breakpoints will be debuting a new song at the Renaissance conference later this month. The song will be part of a noon performance on Wednesday, January 23rd, which will include old favorites along with the new single.
To find out more, I sat down with myself for a fake interview:
Can you tell us a little about the new song?
The new song has a different intent than all the others we’ve done. Previous songs aimed to teach as well as entertain. This new song keeps to a technology theme, but is meant entirely in good fun.
Why debut the song at the Renaissance conference?
The conference brings together all iOS app builders—developers, designers and business people. It seemed the perfect place to introduce the first James Dempsey and the Breakpoints song that doesn’t require working knowledge of Objective-C or design patterns to fully enjoy.
Will the new song be available on iTunes?
Yes. The Breakpoints have been back in the studio and we’re in the middle of production. We are on track for the single to drop on iTunes as close to the live debut as possible.
What’s the difference between playing live and being in the studio?
Our live performances are acoustic, laid-back and lots of fun—we keep it simple in a live setting. In the studio, we can get more complex with additional tracks and instruments.
Can you tell us any more about the new song?
After working at Apple for fifteen years, it feels strange to say even this much about something that isn’t released yet. I can say that we’ve definitely enjoyed working on the new song, we think it will bring a smile to people’s faces and we’d love to have as many folks as possible join us for the live show at Renaissance. •
The Renaissance conference is January 21-23 in San Francisco. Tickets are available here.
To save an additional $100 on registration for Renaissance contact me for a discount code.
(Jan 3, 2013: Updated ticket price and discount info added to end of post)
Renaissance, the iOS app makers’ conference, is happening in San Francisco from January 21-23. It looks to be an excellent event and I am excited to be a part of it.
As part of the program, Chris Clark from Square and I will be presenting Beautiful Text, a session covering both design and technical aspects of text in iOS apps.
In addition, Renaissance will feature a special musical performance by James Dempsey and the Breakpoints.
My excitement for the conference goes beyond any particular session. I believe Renaissance will be an experience much greater than the sum of its parts. Here are a few things that have me looking forward to Renaissance:
The lineup of speakers is impressive. I would go out of my way to hear any number of these folks speak individually. With so many people I respect and admire presenting, the event promises to be something special.
The conference format means that by hearing development, design and business topics woven together in a single track, you can take in everything without missing anything. I think bringing topics together that are often sequestered in separate tracks will spark a lot of interesting ideas.
Finally, I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of great people at the conference. Twitter, Skype and email can be fantastic ways to keep in touch, but there is something about meeting people in person that has yet to be matched by communication technology.
If you are considering coming to Renaissance, the price goes up on January 1st, so now is a great time to book the ticket. (Plus, if you live someplace cold and snowy, attending Renaissance can also be the literal rebirth of getting the feeling back in your fingers and toes.)
If you are already coming to Renaissance, please say hello. It would be great to meet you. I really hope to see you there. •
TICKET UPDATE: The ticket price discount for Renaissance has been extended until January 8th!
ADDITIONAL DISCOUNT:Contact me if you’d like to use my discount code to save an additional $100 on registration for Renaissance.
Here’s an updated version of the iOS Device Summary that includes the newly announced iPad mini and 4th Generation iPad. Read more about the summary in the original article. Downloadable PDFs are at the bottom of the post. •
One challenge as a small independent iOS developer is keeping up with evolving hardware. Some testing can be done in the iOS Simulator, but to see how an app truly behaves, it is important to develop and test on actual devices.
I created this summary chart as a way to visualize a few key iOS device properties. This has helped me decide which mix of devices I use to get reasonable coverage for development and testing. I’ve found it useful and hope others will also.
The key device properties represented are processor, screen resolution and supported iOS versions.
On my copy of the chart, I use a star to indicate that I have a particular device running a particular iOS version. This makes it easy to see at a glance what coverage I have across all three properties.
The devices are organized primarily by processor. Each processor represents a system on chip containing both CPU and GPU, making it a reasonable indicator of system performance. I tend to develop on devices with slower processors, to ensure code performs well across all devices.
The rectangle for each device is a scaled version of its screen resolution, preserving aspect ratio and relative size to other devices. Note that this represents the number of pixels, not the physical screen size. This is why the rectangle for an iPhone 4 with a retina display (960 x 640) is just a little smaller than rectangle for the iPad (1024 x 768).
Supported iOS versions are indicated by color inside the rectangle for each device. This summary only includes iOS 5 and later. Since system changes that impact your app can happen between releases, it is important to test on all the OS versions you support. Additionally, because reverting a device to a previous iOS version is not officially supported, it is also important to track which of your devices are running which iOS version. You want to avoid, for example, accidentally upgrading your only iOS 5 device.
This summary is designed with general iOS development in mind. Apps that depend on particular hardware features obviously have different criteria for choosing devices for development and testing. Feel free to download a copy of the summary below. I hope you find it useful and welcome your feedback. •
Update: I’ve gotten a number of requests for a printer-ready version of the chart with a white background. I’ve added versions for color and black & white printers below.
Update 2: Updated links below. You can download the most recent version of the summary, or the version that originally appeared with this post.
I was traveling the week between the iPhone 5 announcement and release. I returned from my trip champing at the bit to update my app WALT to use the entire 4-inch display, instead of being stuck in the letterbox ghetto. Updating turned out to be simple and straightforward. Here’s how it went.
Out of the letterbox
The first step was getting out of the letterbox. To do this, I upgraded the project to use the iOS 6 SDK and added a new 640 × 1136 launch image for the new screen size. Like all launch images, it needed to have a particular name: Defaultfirstname.lastname@example.org. There’s a lot of information encoded in that file name—the default launch image name, the screen height, the high-resolution size and the image format.
Enabling a feature by adding a specially-named image is a clever and compact approach, but it is not very obvious or discoverable on its own. Xcode 4.5 helps by displaying a project warning and offering to create the new launch image for you. (Although I see the warning now in a test project, I don’t remember seeing it when I updated WALT.)
Xcode 4.5 adds a few other features to support development for Retina 4 displays. The iOS Simulator has a new hardware device setting so you can test your app with the new size, even if you haven’t been able to get your hands on an iPhone 5.
When viewing storyboards, Interface Builder makes it very easy to toggle between Retina 3.5 and Retina 4 sizes using a newly-added resize button.
If you are not using storyboards, Interface Builder still has you covered. You can change the screen size for a top-level view in the Simulated Metrics section of the attributes inspector. This setting is also available with storyboards, but I have found the single toggle to be much more convenient to use.
Mostly done already
Since WALT uses standard tab, navigation and table views, there was nothing additional required to effectively use the additional screen space. Each table view became taller and now displays more content. I could have released the app as-is, but wanted to do a few tweaks.
On a Retina 3.5 screen, the film detail view in my app adjusts row heights in certain cases to improve the layout. I needed to make different adjustments for Retina 4 screens, so I needed to tell the two screen sizes apart. The new screen size is not a different user interface idiom—just a taller iPhone. For screen size, the highest level API available is to use UIScreen to get the height of the main screen:
I‘ve already seen a number of online examples that use the screen size to add convenience category methods to UIScreen or UIDevice. In my case, I checked the screen size inline in the one place where it was needed.
Although my experience was quick and painless, the amount of work needed to adapt an app for 4-inch screens varies greatly depending on its contents. The iOS Human Interface Guidelines document suggests different approaches for various situations. It also makes a very important point that applies to all apps. An app should remain the same app, with the same features and interaction, regardless of which screen size it is being displayed on. But, when displayed on a 4-inch screen, it should reveal more of its content.
In summary, getting your app to stretch out to the full iPhone 5 screen is as easy as updating to the latest SDK and adding a new launch image. Getting your app to look great, however, will depend on how customized your views are.
For me, I found that getting the app ready for iPhone 5 took less time than preparing the new set of taller screenshots required for the App Store. •
WALT 1.0.1 is available now in the App Store with iPhone 5 and iOS 6 support.