Apple inadvertently asking developers for iOS 7-optimized app icons

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Ahead of Apple’s iOS 7 launch (presumably alongside the new iPhones in September), Apple seems to be asking developers to submit larger app icons. As part of iOS 7′s dramatic interface changes, the Home screen icons have been slightly enlarged compared to the iOS 6 icons.

For example, as shown in the image above, the non-iOS 7-optimized Netflix icon has a small white border compared to Apple’s icons.

In order to avoid this interface issue, developers will need to include larger icons in their applications. iOS 6 icons on the iPhone come in at 114 x 114 pixel resolutions, while iOS 7 icons are slightly larger at 120 x 120 pixel resolutions. For the iPad, iOS 6 icons are at resolutions of 144 x 144, and on iOS 7 they come in at a resolution of 152 x 152:

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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.