Posts in Linked

Common App Rejections

As noted by AppFigures on Twitter, Apple has posted a new webpage detailing common app rejections during the review process for the App Store.

Before you develop your app, it’s important to become familiar with the technical, content, and design criteria that we use to review all apps. We’ve highlighted some of the most common issues that cause apps to get rejected to help you better prepare your apps before submitting them for review.

At the bottom of the page, Apple lists the top reasons for app rejections in a seven-day period ending August 28, 2014.

Unsurprisingly, apps that exhibited bugs/crashes and that did not comply with the developer agreement were rejected, but the list also contains mentions of “less than very good” interfaces, apps with “screenshots not relevant to the App Store”, and apps with “icons similar to other apps”. All these are common traits of many apps that have been approved, not rejected.

Check out Apple's new webpage here.


Choosing CloudKit

Greg Pierce, the developer of Drafts, Phraseology, and Terminology, has written a post with his reasons for choosing CloudKit instead of other sync providers in iOS 8:

I’m glad choosing CloudKit removes the need for me to manage servers or engage another third party service to do so, but that is not why I chose it. I’m not afraid of servers.

Why am I willing to make these trade-offs for CloudKit, despite it’s limitations? Because, ultimately, developer perspectives aside, I felt it was the right choice for my customers.

If CloudKit will work as advertised, I, as a user, can only appreciate the fact that I won't have to create additional online accounts or worry about the privacy policy of an app I just want to try for a couple of days. I have big hopes for more apps using iCloud on iOS 8.


Apple Announces Media Event for September 9

As first reported by Jim Dalrymple at The Loop, Apple today announced a media event for September 9, this time to be held at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino. The keynote will begin at 10 AM, and the invitation image shared by Apple shows the event's date with the "Wish we could say more" tagline.

Apple is widely expected to introduce the next version of its iPhone at the event, with rumors suggesting that the company will introduce two new devices under the "iPhone 6" name, carrying larger screens than the current generation models. Apple is also expected to confirm the release of iOS 8, first introduced at WWDC in June and set to debut this Fall.


Connected: The Pasta and The Pizza and The Sauce

This week, Federico, Myke and Stephen follow up on the history of the iPod, then discusses software and hardware that are helping them get in better shape.

On this week's episode of Connected, I briefly touch upon the launch of Perspective Icons 2, then, after some follow up, we talk about how wearables and iOS apps are helping us achieve healthier lifestyles.

The story about the apps I've been using for the past couple of months will become a longer article/series for the site, but, in the meantime, you can get the episode here.

This episode of Connected is sponsored by:


The Technology Behind Hyperlapse

Very early on in the development process of Hyperlapse, we decided that we wanted an interactive slider for selecting the level of time lapse. We wanted to provide instant feedback that encouraged experimentation and felt effortless, even when complex calculations were being performed under the hood.

This is a technical, but highly fascinating look at the technology Instagram used in Hyperlapse. Not as advanced as Microsoft's research, but impressive for a mobile device.


TextBundle for Markdown

An interesting initiative by Brett Terpstra and The Soulmen: TextBundle is a new file format to bundle Markdown files, metadata, and referenced images in a single file that multiple apps can exchange without asking for additional permissions due to Sandboxing on OS X.

From the website:

The TextBundle file format aims to provide a more seamless user expericence when exchanging Markdown files between sandboxed applications.

Sandboxing is required for all apps available on the Mac and iOS app store, in order to grant users a high level of data security. Sandboxed apps are only permitted access to files explicitly provided by the user - for example Markdown text files. When working with different Markdown applications, sandboxing can cause inconveniences for the user.

Here's Brett's explanation:

The Textbundle format is very simple. A folder containing a plain text file, a JSON data file, and an assets sub-folder. An app, such as Ulysses, can write a Textbundle out and pass it to Marked, and all of the necessary components are automatically included. Images, additional text files, and any metadata needed are all there and safe from sandboxing restrictions.

What's especially intriguing is metadata support: with TextBundle, all kinds of information could be stored in the file and passed across devices and platforms:

This means that data such as revision history, writing statistics, and all kinds of things we haven’t imagined yet can be stored with a file that can move across folders, entire machines, and even platforms.

For new formats to work, they need to be ubiquitous; for Markdown formats to work, they need to be supported by the community of developers who make text editors. Right now, Ulysses III and Marked 2 have added support for TextBundle; developers can check out the official spec here.


What Is a Card?

Khoi Vinh has a great introduction to software cards for presentation and rich content:

Even as the notion of cards as the next big software interaction paradigm continues to gain momentum, it hasn’t gotten much easier to explain to the uninitiated what, exactly, a card is. When asked this question, I find it hard not to ramble on at great length, and even harder to avoid using technical jargon, which usually produces diminishing returns in conversations with “normal people.”

Make sure to check out his Pinterest board for screenshots of card UIs and see what they actually look like.

While I don't rely on many card-based apps or web services, I do believe that Twitter cards are largely underrated and ignored by people who use third-party Twitter clients, which can't display cards.

In my limited experience, setting up a MailChimp card for our MacStories Weekly newsletter doubled our number of subscribers thanks to its design and ease of use. With Twitter Cards, the link I shared appeared as a card inside Twitter timelines with an interactive signup form to subscribe with one click.

That's a powerful idea, potentially applicable to hundreds of web services and publishers that are sharing content on Twitter. I'm definitely planning to explore cards more for MacStories.


“Wacky Mobile Cases Have Become a Serious Business”

Adam Welch, writing at The Financial Times (via Ben Evans):

The wacky phone case made its catwalk debut at Jeremy Scott’s inaugural show for Moschino autumn/winter 2014. In keeping with the rest of the collection – kitsch, colourful, cute – it was shaped to resemble a packet of French fries.

I was in Porto Cervo last month, and I saw a Moschino boutique with the French fries case mentioned in the article. Initially, I thought it was silly, but then I looked around and all my friends and people who were checking out the store were pointing out how cool that case was because it was funny and unique.

While I'm not a case person, I've noticed an increase in popularity of these “wacky” phone cases – for iPhones and Android phones – over the past year. The numbers seem to prove that, just like old Nokia phones, the smartphone cover/case as a lifestyle accessory is back.


iOS 8 and Web Views

WKWebView is the centerpiece of the modern WebKit API introduced in iOS 8 & Mac OS X Yosemite. It replaces UIWebView in UIKit and WebView in AppKit, offering a consistent API across the two platforms.

Boasting responsive 60fps scrolling, built-in gestures, streamlined communication between app and webpage, and the same JavaScript engine as Safari, WKWebView is one of the most significant announcements to come out of WWDC 2014.

Mattt Thompson has a handy technical overview of the changes coming to web views (such as webpages opened from your Twitter timeline or an RSS app) in iOS 8. In testing a bunch of iOS 8 apps, I can tell that the difference in terms of performance from iOS 7 is noticeable (and extremely welcome).