Apple increases app prices in Russia in response to changing exchange rates

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Apple has today informed developers that it has changed the pricing of apps and In-App Purchases in the Russian App Store, following changes to exchange rates. The recent ruble-dollar rates have fluctuated so widely in recent weeks that Apple has been forced to take the Russian Apple Online Store down completely, as it reviews pricing for its products. 

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GarageBand, Star Walk, Threes and more apps go (RED) until December 7th, all proceeds going to charity

A range of apps have been updated today with limited-time promotions, in aid of the (RED) charity. Apple has participated in the event with an update to GarageBand, offering a limited-edition In-App Purchase that makes over 300 new drum, guitar, synth and bass loops available as an In-App Purchase. All proceeds from the sale of this expansion pack go directly to the (RED) charity, which sends the money to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The In-App Purchase, which is priced at $0.99, will be available until December 7th.

Other notable developers are also participating, many of which including exclusive additional content. For example, Threes has been updated, with a fresh red theme and updated icon. Monument Valley has added one special (RED) level, Star Walk has added exploration of Mars, The Red Planet. The popular drawing app, Paper, has also participated with a red application theme and icon. The ‘Over’ app has made special edition font and artwork packs available for purchase. djay and Heads Up! are also taking part in the event. Like GarageBand, 100% of proceeds of app and IAP sales go to the (RED) fund.

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Here’s why beacon networks are the way to go for retailers & app developers supporting iBeacon

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If you’re a retailer, you have two options when it comes to deploying Bluetooth beacons. You can deploy the hardware yourself and build an accompanying mobile app for the experience, or you can open the experience to existing apps that users already have on their device using a beacon network. Some retailers have decided they want to own the experience and have everything go through their own mobile app, but new data suggests that might not be the way to go. Read more

Free 50-minute video tutorial video shows you how to make an Apple Watch app

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If you want to get quickly up to speed on the basics of creating an Apple Watch app following the release of WatchKit, developer Nick Walter has put a free 50-minute video tutorial online. You can also sign up for a full online course for just $39 on Kickstarter – saving $161 on the likely launch price.

Walter gained a certain amount of fame recently when Forbes reported that he made $66,000 in one month following a similar Kickstarter campaign for a course in making iPhone apps …  Read more

Apple WatchKit third-party apps require a connected iPhone to function, ‘fully native’ apps coming later in 2015

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Apple has just released a flood of information about how apps on Apple Watch work, through the WatchKit framework. There are three types of integrations currently possible: WatchKit apps, Glances and actionable notifications. Although they sound similar,  the development process for WatchKit apps are actually very different to that of normal iOS apps for iPhone and iPad, as much of the computation is done on the connected iPhone rather than rendered by the watch’s hardware itself.

The interface elements and interaction patterns for WatchKit apps revolve around a core set of user interface components and layouts. Arbitrary views are not supported, which is a big departure from how iOS apps are constructed.

The constraints are in place because although the Watch renders the UI, any other coding logic is actually managed by the connected iPhone through a WatchKit extension, that silently runs on the iPhone. For instance, animations are pre rendered as an image sequence on the phone GPU before being sent OTA to the watch for display. Apple has announced that fully-native Watch apps will debut later in 2015, which will likely loosen these restrictions somewhat.

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Apple releases WatchKit allowing developers to prepare for Apple Watch

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Apple has officially announced the availability of WatchKit, the software tools that developers will use for creating software for the Apple Watch coming in 2015. The company revealed last month that the SDK, or software development kit, would be released sometime this month. Apple says WatchKit enables developers to “create innovative WatchKit apps, actionable notifications and Glances, for timely information accessible by an easy, quick look at Apple Watch.” Additionally, resources within WatchKit reveal the screen resolutions for both Apple Watch sizes. Read more

Apple to require iOS apps and updates to use iOS 8 SDK and include 64-bit support from February 2015

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Apple has today notified developers about some upcoming rules regarding App Store submission, via its developer news portal. From 1st February 2015, newly-submitted apps and updates must be built against Apple’s iOS 8 SDK. This is not particularly surprising: Apple required similar adoption of the iOS 7 SDK last year.

In addition however, Apple will also require that all apps and updates include 64-bit support from that date too. Currently, developers can choose whether to submit only 32-bit apps or universal binaries. This will no longer be an option from February. Moving all apps to 64-bit will bring big performance and memory gains for newer devices (which include A7 or A8 SoC’s) as running the 32-bit apps necessitates loading a lot of additional resources into system memory.

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Apple opens the door for HomeKit accessory makers w/ finalized MFi specs

WWDC-Homekit-01Apple has now finalized and published specifications for HomeKit through its Made-For-iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) licensing program. The finalized specifications, which allow accessory makers to start building products that integrate iOS 8’s new framework for home automation devices, come ahead of Apple’s yearly MFi summit in November where it plans to brief manufacturing partners on HomeKit and other new iOS 8 features for accessories. Read more

Apple posts ‘how to build an iOS app in Swift’ video on developer blog

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Apple drew a lot of attention earlier this year when it debuted its own blog dedicated to updating developers on Swift, its programming language for building Mac and iOS apps first introduced at WWDC in June. The blog has since been used to share updates on the state of Swift as well as technical details about the programming language, but today Apple posted an official video tutorial (embedded below) targeted for new Swift developers on using the language and Xcode to build an app for iOS from scratch. Read more