Archive for the ‘App Development’ Category

iPhone 4

June 25, 2010

Like many of you, we queued for hours yesterday to get our hands on a shiny new iPhone 4.

These were the biggest queues I’ve ever seen for an Apple product so they must be doing something right. The first thing we did was check out that all our apps still worked perfectly on the new toy…

The only strange behaviour we could find was that Done’s ‘shake to sort’ feature appeared to be broken – we’re looking into it now and expect to have a minor update out shortly to fix it. The graphics on most of the apps seemed to hold up pretty well on the new high resolution Retina display. Done seemed to benefit the most with the type now looking super sharp.

Any other issues that you’ve found that we might have missed?

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iPhone OS 4.0 follow up and wallpaper

April 9, 2010

Well we were pretty happy with the OS 4.0 details revealed yesterday. Multi-tasking looks pretty good so everybody can stop whining about that now.

We got what we wanted in regard to organising apps and better developer access to media libraries. The wallpaper side of things still seems lacking though. OK, you can set a custom wallpaper but not a screen by screen basis and there’s still no word as to what sort of control devs might be able to have (still none, we suspect). Talking of wallpapers, everybody seemed to like the raindrops one that Steve was showing off so we thought you might like to grab a copy now:

We’ve also created a special calendar version for you as well using our MyCal app.

We’ll let you know if we find out anything new and exciting when we’ve had a chance to play with the new SDK. In the meantime, Gizmodo have a great round up of the features revealed so far.

iPhone OS 4.0 revealed today

April 8, 2010

Today Apple will reveal some of the key features to be included in the next major version of the iPhone operating system.

Everybody’s expecting them to announce multi-tasking and video conferencing as well as something to do with their rumoured mobile advertising platform, iAd. Although I think that’s something for developers and shareholders to get excited about rather than users. I’m not sure even Steve Jobs could make us clamour to be advertised to…

Apart from all the features that everybody else is asking for, here at Chilli X we’d like to see:

A better way of managing and grouping your applications. Give us the ability to have more apps and not just more screens either. Maybe each screen as we know it now could become the home screen for a different category of apps where we store our favorites, the rest being available from a pop up menu…

Better access to music and photo libraries. The current way that developers integrate with the media libraries of the built in apps is messy to say the least. Why not us point PhotoFramePlus to an existing album instead of forcing us to duplicate the content and import it into our apps.

Wallpapers & icons. Let us have different wallpapers for each screen. Let developers create apps that write directly to the wallpaper rather than the Film Roll. Let’s have animated wallpapers and icons. Icons that reflect live information, weather, stock prices etc.

Better File Transfer. It’s ridiculous having to sync your phone every time you want to add a photo or note – give us an elegant way of getting content onto our devices quickly and easily (look at Pastebot if you want some inspiration).

In a few hours we’ll know if our wishes have been granted 🙂

Chilli X needs your help!

April 2, 2010

No! Just one day before the launch of the iPad, Apple have rejected PhotoFramePlus!

The reason for this is a display glitch that shows up on the actual iPad hardware but not on the simulator. This creates a real problem for us since we’re based in the UK and aren’t even sure when the iPad is going to be released here…

So we’re looking for early adopters that will help us test a new build of PhotoFramePlus. As you’ll appreciate, if we can’t replicate the problem in the simulator we won’t know if we’ve fixed it.

So if you’re getting your hands on a shiny new iPad this weekend and would like to help, please, please get in touch by clicking here.

Busy, busy, busy

March 22, 2010

Sorry about the lack of updates recently but we’ve been very busy working on three projects that we don’t want to (or can’t) say too much about at the moment.

One – a client project in the field of pharmaceuticals that won’t be released under the Chilli X name. A nice little project though and we’ll point you in the right direction once it’s available.

Two – an exciting music based iPhone app that we’re really excited about (hi Ben). We’ll definitely tell you more about this one soon.

Three – our very first iPad app which we’re polishing at the moment. We’re understandably nervous about releasing an App for launch without being able to test it on real hardware first so we’ll see how that goes. It’s looking good in the simulator though!

Apple iPad in use

January 28, 2010

Here’s a great video from iLounge showing a pretty comprehensive walkthrough of the iPad’s features.

Apple iPad: iLounge.com’s Complete Interface Walkthrough (720p HD) from iLounge on Vimeo.

Hello iPad

January 28, 2010

Well, the agonising wait is over and the world finally knows what Steve Jobs had up his sleeve – a giant iPod touch!

As always with these over-hyped imaginary products the reality is a mixture of excitement and disappointment.

Disappointment because it doesn’t live up to the hype and do everything everybody claimed it might – hi-res cameras, video conferencing, replace my AppleTV, stream my iTunes collection from the cloud or make my coffee for me.

Excitement because it’s a giant iPod touch! We have to remember that Apple are making products for the mass market now, not just us fanboys. I’ve lost count of the number of ‘normal’ people I’ve shown off my iPhone too who’ve said ‘it’s really cool but the screen’s too small’. My wife, who is probably more typical of the target consumer than me, sits in bed in the morning looking at the web on her laptop because her iPhone’s screen is ‘too small’ while I squint away at my phone emailing links to myself so I can look at them later on a bigger screen.

Don’t get me wrong, mobile Safari is the best mobile browser out there – the only thing that holds it back is the size of the screen. It’s the same with video playback – great implementation but the screen’s too small to really enjoy it.

I think an enormous deciding factor in the design of the iPad has been keeping the price down. Apple didn’t want to repeat the mistake they made with the Cube a few years ago i.e. release something that looked incredibly cool but was overpriced for it’s target market and ultimately failed. Hence, no video cameras, no huge amounts of memory

Other negative comments that have been made concern the lack of multitasking but that’s not a hardware limitation. From what I can tell looking at videos of the device in action the new Apple A4 chip that powers the iPad looks pretty powerful. To my mind the iPad looks like it’s being constrained by the operating system. Rather than roll out OS 4.0 with full iPad support we’re having to make do with an incremental update to the OS that takes into account the higher screen resolution. Hence the home screen looks rather sparse with the huge gaps between those tiny little icons and only 4 apps in the dock. This looks very much like a temporary measure to me while they get OS 4.0 ready for a summer release and some new iPhone hardware.

There’s still a lot missing at the moment – where’s the Weather app? Where’s Stocks & Messaging? Sure, there’s a lot to moan about but equally there’s a lot to get excited about – as a screen based designer, I for one am looking forward to playing with all those extra 632,832 pixels! As you can see, we’ve already updated our previous mockups to reflect the real iPad – now we have to get coding!

The Apple Tablet

January 8, 2010

Unless you’ve been living on another planet for the last month or so, you’ll know that Apple has a special press event planned for sometime later this month (the 26th or 27th).

Although nobody knows for sure, the best bet is that they will be announcing some sort of new hardware – the much rumoured, long awaited MacTablet, iSlate, iPad, iGuide or whatever it’s going to be called. The web is awash with feverish speculation as to exactly what it will be called, what it will look like and what it will do. Which is all quite interesting because Apple, as per usual, are saying nothing on the subject. I’m never quite sure about this approach as it builds expectations up to unrealistic levels and then disappoints people when the final product doesn’t do everything that was promised by John Smith of Texas…

However, most people have been speculating on the hardware rather than the software, so we at Chilli X thought we’d join in the fun and imagine what we could do with all these extra pixels. So we’ve used some of our existing apps as a starting point and mocked up these images showing the type of app we’d like to build. Imagine a combination of PhotoFrame, DeskClock and PlaySafe – what do you think?

Predictions

At the moment nobody even knows what operating system it will run but here’s what we think. It won’t be running Snow Leopard – there’s no point putting the same operating system that people use to do high end rendering and print ready artwork on a small, less powerful device. If it was to run Snow Leopard then Apple would have to figure out a way of stopping you installing certain types of application and that’s just messy.

It won’t run the current iPhone operating system either, although it will run most existing iPhone apps in smaller windows (almost like OS X dashboard widgets). My guess is that they’ll use the event to announce iPhone OS 4.0 with lots of cool new features including support for larger screen sizes. It makes perfect sense – everyone loves the iPhone OS. Users because it’s slick, fun and easy to use and Apple because of all the money they make from the App Store – why would they want to use Snow Leopard and not be able to control what software goes on there (and get a cut of it).

If you believe the rumours the new device will revolutionise the way we interact with our media. We’ll be reading the morning paper on it bed, watching TV programmes, reading digital comic and ebooks. Personally I want it to be my ultimate remote control as well. Expectations are running pretty high for this one so I hope they get it right, although even if it’s nothing more than a giant iPod touch that would still be pretty cool! Let’s face it most of the iPod touch’s weakness would be fixed by a bigger screen. Yes, you can browse the web but it’s not ideal – I still find that I email myself links to look at on my real Mac with a big screen far too often. Yes, you can read digital comics but a panel at a time doesn’t quite do it for me either…

Disclaimer: although we’re Apple developers we have absolutely no prior knowledge and this whole article is based around speculation and fantasy and the images are just mockups.

New iTunes App Store design

December 13, 2009

Just in case this passed you by, Apple rolled out a shiny new design in the App Store a couple of days ago.

Last time they refreshed the Store, it was the home page that got all the love but now they’ve turned their attention to the individual app pages. Initial impressions are good – the overall design is graphics heavy and less wordy. Screenshots appear in a scrolling panel rather than one at a time and you get a nice row of ‘Customers also bought’ icons across the bottom. The downside is you have to click the ‘more’ buttons to read anything other than the first line of an app’s description or What’s New.

We’ll live with it for a couple of days and see what we think – any thoughts?

iPhone Publishers Meetup: an Augmented Reality special

November 17, 2009

Last night Chilli X went to the November iPhone Publishers Meetup: an Augmented Reality special, and had a great evening.

The venue was suitably cool (great lighting, touch sensitive tables etc) and the talks were brief but interesting. Ravi Damani from acrossair talked about getting started, their future plans for their Augmented Reality engine and their views on competition.  Mark Cummins from PlinkArt gave a fascinating talk about their visual image recognition system. It’s not available on the iPhone yet (Android only so far) but the potential is enormous.

We’ll be watching with interest to see where these technologies go. Personally I’d like to see some open standards that everyone can plug in to, rather than everybody developing their own different solutions. For example Plink’s image recognition works only on images that have been entered into their database – they already have competition of a sort in the form of Kooaba. I’d hate to see a future where images from some companies are exclusively held in one database so can’t be recognised by a competitor’s software.

The virtual augmented reality future only looks bright if everybody plays nicely together. I don’t want to be standing in London holding a phone in front of my face looking for a restaurant only to find that Wagamas are exclusively licensed to one app and Burger King another…