Posts in Linked

Nintendo, One Year Later

Lukas Mathis, checking back after a year on the idea that Nintendo should drop consoles and make games for iOS:

Now, one year later, Nintendo just announced that it made a quarterly profit of 24.2 billion yen (about 224 million US$). Ars Technica notes that this is mainly due to strong sales of its first-party titles, mostly on the 3DS. However, even the Wii U is starting to show sustainable game sales numbers. So far, Mario Kart 8 sold roughly 3 million copies on the Wii U, and it continues to sell well. At 60 US$ a piece, it’s not clear to me that Nintendo could make the same amount of money selling games for iOS. Even a platform that’s doing poorly, like the Wii U, might be a better option if you can sell games for 60 bucks a piece, and reach a 50% attach rate.

As I argued last year in Nintendo Vs. Apple Pundits, Nintendo consoles exist to support the company's crown jewels – first-party games. The kind of experiences that Nintendo is able to craft on the 3DS and Wii U wouldn't simply be possible on iOS (from both technical and economic perspectives).

As Mathis notes, the rest of the console industry isn't doing too bad after a year either, with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 reporting higher sales numbers than the previous generation.

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Apple No Longer Rejecting iOS 8 Calculator Widgets

According to TechCrunch, Apple has changed its mind on calculator widgets for iOS 8 following yesterday's PCalc news:

But now we’re hearing that Apple is changing its course. The PCalc app and widget will remain in the App Store, and all calculator-type widgets will be allowed as well, an Apple spokesperson has confirmed to us.

From our understanding, the calculator use case was not one that Apple had anticipated, which is why an App Store reviewer originally explained to Thomson that he would need to adjust the app, or risk being pulled from the App Store.

James Thomson still hasn't heard anything from Apple officially, and, obviously, there are hundreds of apps that are mysteriously rejected every week and that aren't covered by dozens of tech blogs in a single day.

Still, this is the right decision from Apple, and it'll hopefully turn into an opportunity to clarify the App Store Review Guidelines for widgets and improve the company's internal Schrödinger process that makes an app featured and at risk of rejection at the same time.

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The iPad Air 2′s Extra GB of RAM

Display aside, another hardware change that I noticed in my iPad Air 2 is the extra RAM Apple put in this year. Pocket Gamer's Mark Brown ran some tests:

To see how things have changed, we rebooted an iPad Air and an iPad Air 2, and then loaded monster memory hog XCOM: Enemy Unknown. We then started opening and using apps to see how much we could get done before iOS forcibly removed XCOM from memory.

Apple's handy OS X tool Instruments lets you keep an eye on what your iPad is doing, so we could see the exact moment that XCOM was killed off like a Sectoid on the receiving end of a shotgun.

Check out his gallery of screenshots to see how much an extra GB of RAM can help. In my case, the iPad Air 2 keeps more Safari tabs in memory without aggressively reloading when I switch between them, and apps generally stay active for longer periods of time. The end result is a faster experience as I see less apps being removed from memory – a change that I particularly appreciate when I'm switching between Safari and a bunch of other apps for research or file management tasks.

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The iPad Air 2 Display

Since getting my iPad Air 2 last week (I upgraded from an iPad mini), I noticed two things about the display: if I get closer to it, I can (almost) discern pixels again; and, it's considerably better than the iPad mini when used under indoor lighting.

Dr. Raymond M. Soneira of DisplayMate notes in their in-depth analysis of the display:

A major innovation for the iPad Air 2 (that is not fully appreciated) is an anti-reflection coating on the cover glass that reduces ambient light reflections by about 3:1 over most other Tablets and Smartphones (including the previous iPads), and about 2:1 over all of the very best competing Tablets and Smartphones (including the new iPhone 6). We measured a 62 percent decrease in reflected light glare compared to the previous iPads (Apple claims 56 percent) and agree with Apple’s claim that the iPad Air 2 is “the least reflective display of any Tablet in the world” – both are in fact understatements.

While the anti-reflection coating doesn't do much in direct sunlight, in my experience it has an effect for working with the iPad indoors. As for the pixels, it's not a big deal because I wouldn't normally get my eyes close to display (so in normal usage, the Retina display still looks fantastic), but I'd definitely welcome a Retina HD iPad next year.

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iOS 8 Now on Over Half of Active iOS Devices

Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors:

After five and a half weeks of availability, Apple's iOS 8 operating system is now installed on 52 percent of iOS devices, according to new numbers posted on Apple's App Store support page for developers.

The number is measured by Apple through App Store stats.

iOS 8 has been, in my personal experience, “difficult” to explain: some of its new features like widgets and extensions are best demonstrated with third-party apps that not everybody has, and additions like Handoff and keyboards aren't immediately noticeable like a new design. It appears that more people are now upgrading to a new major version of iOS after a few updates, but there are also new iPhones and iPads with iOS 8.1 pre-installed that may have influenced Apple's statistics.

Still, iOS 8 numbers are going up and that should be good news for app developers, but it doesn't seem like iOS 7 can be completely left behind yet.

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What Photographers Need to Know About iOS 8.1 and Yosemite

The new OS X and iOS jive better now than ever before. Both platforms are packed with new features and I’ve only touched on the aspects that are especially significant for photographers. I’m personally most excited about iCloud’s ability to give us access to our image archive at all times and AirDrop between Mac and iPhone.

Photographer Austin Mann (you may have heard of him before) has shared a good collection of tips and tricks for taking pictures and managing files on iOS 8.1 and OS X Yosemite. I'm trying iCloud Photo Library as my main photo management solution, and I'm positively (and surprisingly) impressed so far.

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Connected: An Italian Stephen

This week, the boys discuss the ever-expanding iPad line and Stephen yells about Yosemite.

This week's episode of Connected was recorded before I got my iPad Air 2, and it includes some thoughts on moving from the iPad mini to the larger iPad as well as software we're not seeing from Apple. You can get the episode here.

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distribute()

Created by Vlambeer (the indie studio behind Apple Design Award winner Ridiculous Fishing, Luftrausers, and other games), distribute() is a new tool to help game developers keep track of a press list. From the website:

distribute() is modelled to save you valuable development hours you'd otherwise have to spend on distributing builds and maintaining press lists. Simply send out a distribute() link for your game to your press contacts, and distribute() will organise all required information into a neatly organised list the system manages and maintains for you. Furthermore, distribute() will simplify numerous public data sources into a simple Reach statistic to help you decide how to prioritise your press strategy for your new release.

There are several interesting ideas in distribute(), but this one struck me as a genius addition:

Verified press contacts help you avoid fake requests from video content creators or people pretending to be from larger websites or YouTube personalities. Verified press contacts are manually vetted and constantly updated to reflect the ever-changing games press landscape. Additionally, distribute() can be set to handle requests from verified accounts automatically, so that you can be sure esteemed members from the press can get access to your game as soon as you flip the switch.

Properly maintaining a press list is hard, especially if you have to focus on other aspects of launching a game on the App Store or other platforms. If you're a game developer, sign up for the distribute() alpha here. Vlambeer also made presskit(), a free tool to create press pages.

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