All Developer Center services back online, members receiving one month extension for downtime

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Apple has been slowly restoring various services and overhauling its Developer Center since the company shut down all services to investigate an attempted breach into the system late last month. After outlining its plan to restore remaining services earlier this week, today the few developer services that remained down are now back online. That includes the Member Center, Program Enrollment and Renewals, and Technical Support. In addition, Apple has extended all developer memberships by one month as a result of the service interruption.

Following the security threat last month, Apple said it would work to completely overhaul its developer services, including “updating our server software, and rebuilding our entire database.” Since confirming the security issue and shutting down the developer center, it’s taken the company just over 3 weeks to rebuild its developer system and restore all services.

Apple provided extensions for developer memberships set to expire during the outages, and also launched a new System Status page for developers that shows the status of each developer service.

Here is the email that was sent out to developers: Read more

New for app developers in iOS 7: text to speech, motion effects, background downloads, free in-app purchases, more

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We’ve reported on a number of big improvements coming to iOS 7 for both app developers and accessory manufacturers already. Yesterday we reported first on the new blinking and smiling detection features available to camera and photo app developers, and earlier this month told you about some of the new Bluetooth related APIs coming this fall.

We previously walked you through some of the new APIs and features for gamers, but there is still a lot more coming to third-party app developers in iOS 7. A few big improvements: a text to speech API, background downloads for in-app content, motion effects, 3D maps, and much more.

Head below for details on some of the more notable new APIs available for developers to take advantage of in iOS 7: Read more

WWDC 2013 announced for June 10-14: Apple to talk future of iOS, OS X; tickets on sale tomorrow 1PM ET

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This morning, Apple officially announced that its 2013 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will take place at Moscone West in San Francisco from Monday, June 10 until Friday, June 14th.

Tickets for the conference will go on sale at 10 AM Pacific / 1PM Eastern time tomorrow, April 25th.

The conference typically includes several sessions for iOS and OS X developers to work on their code and new projects alongside Apple engineers. Additionally, Apple engineers will make presentations about new developer-focused features in iOS and OS X.

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Indeed, in Apple’s announcement of the WWDC 2013 dates, Apple says that the conference will include details about the next iOS and OS X releases:

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iOS devs give in-depth look at advantages of Apple’s MapKit vs Google Maps SDK

FastCompany today posted an in-depth look at the differences between Apple’s MapKit and Google’s recently launched Google Maps for iOS SDK from the perspective of developers. The lengthy piece gets insight from several iOS app developers with apps that rely on the SDKs and sheds some light on a few things that Apple is doing much better than Google despite a perception from users that Google Maps are superior:

“Google doesn’t currently charge for the Places API, but they do require a valid credit card for access–which gives you a quota of 100,000 daily requests. So you have to wonder if they plan to start charging sooner or later,” McKinlay explains. “That 100,000 limit perhaps sounds reasonable, but each user session can generate many requests–particularly when using the ‘autocomplete’ feature of Tube Tamer–and some types of requests count for 10 times the quota each, so it can get used up pretty quickly.”

While noting that Google wins out with location lookup services, 3D buildings, directions, geocoding, and better hybrid satellite imagery, the developers were also quick to point out downsides of the Google Maps SDK such as quotas for the Places API, an increased app size, and limitations with markers, gradient polylines, and overlays.

Developer of transportation app Tube Tamer, Bryce McKinlay, discussed some of the benefits of using Apple’s MapKit:

“Subjectively, the current version of the [Google] SDK does not perform as well as MapKit,” McKinlay says. “GMSMapView’s frame rate is capped at 30fps, which is lower than typical for iOS and results in a slight but noticeable ‘jitter’ effect when panning and zooming the map. Drawing of labels and POIs sometimes lags behind if you pan quickly, even on a fast device like the iPhone 5.”

“The fact that annotations in MapKit are UIViews also means that animation and other effects can be applied easily using Core Animation, which isn’t currently possible with the Google Maps SDK approach,” McKinlay says. He also points out that MapKit has some other handy features that Google’s SDK currently lacks, like “Follow user location” and “Follow with heading” modes. “MapKit provides a button that automatically moves the map to follow the user’s location, and rotates the map according to the compass heading. This is very helpful for pedestrian navigation. It is possible to implement this manually in Google’s SDK, but it adds extra development time/effort.”

It looks like some developers feel Google has some work to do with their Maps SDK for iOS. While Apple isn’t free of its own issues with MapKit, developers will definitely want to read Fast Company’s entire post before deciding which solution will be best for their app. The developers ultimately end up recommending MapKit over Google’s Maps SDK for the majority of developers.

Kickfolio allows you to demo iOS apps in a browser

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Just launched this week, Kickfolio is a new HTML5-based platform that allows developers to test and share builds of their iOS apps in the browser. Developers simply upload a zipped version of their app (no SDKs or changing code), and the service spits out a link to a private test page displaying an interactive HTML5 and CSS version of the app controllable by mouse and keyboard in portrait or landscape. Testers will also be able to leave feedback and interact with testers in a comment section on the page. Kickfolio has an example of the Angry Bots iOS app from Unity Technologies on its website here.

A pro version of the service also includes a feature to embed apps that allows users to insert the interactive apps in press releases, websites, and elsewhere. The company has a 15-day free trial available, but is also offering pricing ranging from $50 a month for one to two apps to $300 a month for unlimited apps. You can learn more and create an account on the company’s website here.

A demo from Kickfolio of an iPhone app running inside a browser on Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus is below:

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Freshdesk launches free SDK to provide in-app customer support for iOS apps

In June, Google decided to update Google Play with a very useful feature for developers: the ability to respond to the user reviews attached to their apps in the store. The feature is an important one, allowing developers to respond to criticisms, provide updates on necessary upcoming fixes, and perhaps most importantly, communicate directly with their users. Google’s decision to introduce the feature made it clear the App Store needs to revamp its customer support—and developers agreed.

Apple has yet to introduce any sort major overhaul to its App Store customer support and rankings. However, Freshdesk, creators of cloud-based help desk software, introduced a product today that provides direct, in-app customer support for iOS developers.

The free “MobiHelp” SDK allows a developer to implement customer support directly within their iOS apps using a single line of code. This will allow developers to not just respond to comments in the store like Google Play, but also communicate directly with their users from within the app. From there, devs can view and respond to feedback inside of FreskDesk HTML5 app on the desktop or mobile:

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Apple seeds iOS 5 beta 7, iTunes 10.5 beta 7, Xcode 4.2 beta 7 to developers (full change log)

Apple has just released iOS 5 beta 7 to developers as an over-the-air update. iOS 5 includes new features like Notification Center, Twitter integration, Newsstand, and iCloud support. The software update will become publicly available this fall, likely alongside the new iPhone lineup in early October. Apple has released iTunes 10.5 beta 7 and Xcode 4.2 beta 7 as well. Apple has also just released Safari 5.1.1 update 3. Let us know at tips@9to5mac.com anything you find!

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We’ve found that in the Wi-Fi sync settings there is now support for multiple Macs. Under each Mac you’ll find what categories your iOS devide will sync to. Thanks Christoph!

Additionally, the Nuance Text to speech is now available as a menu item (below)

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The following issues relate to using the 5.0 SDK to develop code.We’ve pasted the full change log for the new beta after the break:

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Apple releases iTunes 10.5 beta 6.1 to developers, features iTunes Match beta

Developers, get downloading! Apple has just begun seeding iTunes 10.5 beta 6.1 to developers, which features iTunes Match. This is the first time developers will be able to get their hands on the new cloud platform, announced by Apple at WWDC in June. The beta is available in the United States, and still has the $24.99 subscription cost with it. Apple sent the following email to developers seen after the break.

Apple warns that what is uploaded to iCloud will be deleted at the end of the beta period. Also, Apple wants to thank developers of their service with a free beta period and an additional free three months with their 12 months purchase.

For your perusal, we’ve included the release notes after the break:

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